Lately I've been thinking about how I can be a little more open and inject some of my personality into what I do, since I tend to be a pretty quiet person. I'm always really interested in people's backgrounds and how they got to where they are today, so I thought I'd write a few posts reflecting on my creative journey. This may end up being completely self indulgent, but hopefully you can relate and get something out of it.
I knew that I wanted to go on a study abroad in college and had been saving up for it by doing thrilling clerical work at my dad's law office every summer (thanks, Dad!). Quick note here: The best way to get a feel for that work is that one day someone walked by my office/storage closet and turned out the light because they didn't know I was in there. That was a low point for sure.
My sophomore year of college, I was struggling to find the perfect study abroad program, but I finally settled on Austria, which meant that I had to take German.
On the first day of class, I was still feeling a little unsure of my choice, so I decided to wait to buy the book, because college textbooks are outrageously priced. On the first day, our teacher/grad student immediately launched into class speaking only German, since we all know that is the best way to teach a language. I know that English is a Germanic language, but I was understanding zero of the words he was saying and I promise I wasn't alone! He would presumably ask us to do certain things, and we all just sat there until someone guessed what he wanted us to do.
On the third day I decided that I better give in and get a book. I went to the bookstore right before class and paid the $17,000 for the book. It was shrink wrapped and had some disclosure on it about how if you returned the book after you broke the magic seal, it would decrease the value by $10,000. I tried not to break the seal, but after five minutes in class I gave in.
Still feeling unsure, after class I went home and jumped on the study abroad website. My greatest fear/dream was waiting for me. They had just listed a new program in Italy, with an all-art curriculum, and no language requirements! BUT I HAD BROKEN THE SEAL! I called my mom crying. She wouldn't accept the FACT that I had to go to Austria because my book was no longer shrink wrapped. So, I made my way back to the bookstore, and before I could even start crying to the cashier or explain my tragic timing, they gave me my $17,000 back. Apparently that stupid disclaimer means nothing. That is the moment that I stopped being a rule follower (not really, I love rules).
So I went to Italy! My study abroad was amazing in all the ways I thought it would be; making friends, traveling, getting out of my comfort zone, but it also gave me the opportunity to start making art again. I hadn't made art since I failed the Art AP "test" in high school which went a little something like this: I packed up my portfolio and sent it to the powers that be, and then they sent it back with a "2" (fail) written on it while other people receive a "3" (pass).
When I got back from Italy, it was becoming more clear that my current major was just not working for me. I was trying to cobble together an interior design major in a dying department. I had thought many times that I would be interested in graphic design, but it was a very competitive major that you had to apply to and that AP test had completely taken away any confidence I had in my portfolio. But after a semester of doing art in Italy, I thought maybe I could do it. I think I only had two weeks to apply, so on very little sleep (a precursor of my time in the program), I got my portfolio together, made some more pieces to round it out and applied. And I got in!
I wouldn't recommend switching your major at the end of your Junior year of college, but it was the best thing I could have done for my future.