So Thursday night, Kylie and I went to the 5 / 15 / 25 event. A lot of people will tell you how important it is to network and be amongst like-minded people. It’s a real shame that I tend to mummify in a room full of strangers… – for the sake of my online persona, let’s pretend that I introduced myself to many interesting people and was criminally witty in conversation. Anyway, we can examine my social anxiety issues later when I get my transcript back from my Psych.
It was Henry’s own admittance of being an “okay” designer with a really strong determination and work ethic, which became the first of many chords struck with me that night. I’ve never claimed to be the best at anything – but damn it, you’ll know I’m giving it MY personal best. Of course, the teacher pathway was a relatable life path but it was the “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” statement that really shed light on the differences between Education and Design. Teaching has the potential to become VERY comfortable and predictable, unless you challenge yourself to evolve and grow. After all, a caterpillar can’t become a butterfly without a little struggle, can it?
Dan’s fond memories of the high school art room is definitely something that I could relate too – it was my inspiration to get into teaching. His point about being a designer long before setting foot in design school did bring a few nostalgic memories to mind (creating the school magazine cover, year 12 ball invitations, designing certificates as favours for my teachers – I did a lot of free child labour, in hindsight…) It was pointed out that the journey we all undertake is not linear and that we must strive to remain adaptable. Alarmingly, at a schooling level, we are still putting pressure on teens to make “lifelong” decisions about universities and courses. Life changes. We change. We get thrown curve balls all the time – be prepared to improvise!
Our final speaker, Stephan is a real character, lots of laughs! There is no pretentiousness here which, given his vast experience and body of work, is really refreshing and disarming. It was good to listen to someone who could contextualise the evolution of graphic design in Australia – transporting us back to a time of Fine Art and Pre-computer. You gain a far greater appreciation of the present by reflecting on the ground-work done by those before you. For me, he exemplified what it meant to let good work speak for itself, to love what you do and to never lose your character in the process.
My advice for week 18 (seventeen already??) is to throw out the notion that your career path must follow the sequential Point A, then B, then C. There are plenty of other letters to visit along the way - they'll probably tell an interesting story one day.