If someone told the studious highschool version of myself that I was going to drop out of uni before completing my final year, she probably would have thrown a text book at them out of disbelief.
But I did exactly that. I quit*.
I was studying to be a journalist and by the end of the second year I decided that it wasn’t for me. In fact, I never even wanted to be journalist. I was there because at 17 years old, I vaguely enjoyed writing and the university course outline matched the classes I did well at in highschool. On top of that, I just didn’t have the tenacity or the desire to do the difficult/remarkable/questionable things journalists have to do every day.
Who puts these life changing decisions into the hands of 17 year olds anyway?
At 17, I didn’t even know being a “designer” existed despite having enjoyed “design” as a hobby for as long as I can remember; a realistion made clear in complete hindsight. I eventually stumbled into a very basic, year-long design course and that is where everything began to change for me. I continued to stumble. I stumbled into my first job as a designer. I stumbled into the web. I stumbled into freelancing. I even stumbled into running my own business. I stumbled into a big ad agency and finally, I even stumbled into what was my dream job at the time (still is).
Stumbling sounds great right about now, doesn’t it?
Well, it is and it isn’t. There is no doubt that stumbling has lead me to some great opportunities, and I’m careful not to discredit the hard work I’ve had to do to navigate my stumbling in the right direction but …stumbling can also be hard.
With stumbling comes questions. Lots of questions and also a lot of answers to questions you never even knew you had. Did I take the right path to get here? Have I learnt what I’m supposed to learn? Did I skip a step? Am I doing things in the right way? The same way as everyone else around me? It’s confusing and every day you wonder if you’re missing a vital piece of information that everyone else has but you. It’s like that feeling you get when you find yourself looking for something, but forget what you’re looking for while you’re looking for it.
When Tim told me he was moving on from teaching to try his hand at design I was impressed by his calculated decision to do so. That sort of decisiveness was certainly never a part of my path. At the same time, I was surprised to find that, despite being in the industry for a while, my stumbling self had just as many questions as his new-designer self did. We don’t have many grand expectations for this little project, other than we hope it provides some clarity and helps answer a question for us: are we all just dealing with the same shit?
*I eventually went back and completed my final year and graduated.
Sidenote: I’m really excited to be working on this project with Tim. He’s my best friend and making stuff with him is pretty much all I’ve ever wanted. I used to always bully him into doing arts and crafts with me when we were kids. I was successful a few times. Here’s a cute picture of a successful arts and crafts bully mission.
Not everything happens the way it's supposed to happen the first time around so don't be afraid to take the necessary risks or steps to make a situation you're not happy with work for you. If this means you begin to stumble, embrace it. Choreograph that stumble. Control that stumble. At the end of the day, stumbling means you are at least moving forward. You may never know if everyone is stumbling in the same way you are but does it really matter?