Lately I’ve been thinking about the non-curricular lessons we learn in school. It seems like two things have been on my mind a lot:
• Don’t be shoved into a box.
I’m finding that instructors are eager to tell me what I can and can’t do with my life. They assume my goal is to work my way up to the top of the totem pole at some fancy-schmancy design firm. I keep finding myself freaking out a little bit when I think of working in a cubicle farm in some high-rise, because that is what everyone is telling me I’m working so hard for.
No. I went back to school so I can be successfully self-employed. I went back to school so I don’t have to work for the man. I want freedom. I want to make my own schedule. Plenty of people are successful freelance designers. Plenty of people are successful at running their own small design studios. It’s good to be open to new ideas, and to examine all options. But ultimately, I’m going to make my own way, and have a career that fits my life, personality, and values instead of allowing myself to get shoved into a cookie cutter.
I remind myself of that daily.
• Know when to let go, and learn to prioritize.
I’ve always struggled with these concepts—especially letting go. I feel like this term in particular is teaching me how to let go when needed, and how to prioritize what’s important.
Sometimes working hard on proving myself to an instructor who doesn’t like me or my style just isn’t worth it, especially if that means letting projects for other classes slip through the cracks. Not everyone is always going to like me or what I do. Some projects will play to weaknesses, and the final outcome will show that loud and clear. And that’s ok as long as I work hard, and continue learning. All I can do is my best—while maintaining a balance.