When I graduated from college in 2009, I had a dream. I was going to live in Chicago, get a job at an Architectural firm, and work toward my license. Then after 3 years (license acquired), I was going to move to Italy, Rome perhaps. Probably rent a nice little villa or apartment. Here’s what actually happened: the economy tanked, I couldn’t find an architectural position, and I moved to Florida. In terms of achieving “my dream” I failed, BIG TIME! I received this article in my inbox titled 9 Reasons Why Failure is Not Fatal and the 9th example was a commencement speech given J.K Rowling (author of the Harry Potter series). Here’s an excerpt:
“…failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena where I believed I truly belonged. I was set free…”
Had I successfully made it to Rome with an architectural license in tow, here’s what I might never have done, at least not in the near future. I might not have made the decision to switch to graphic design. It just wouldn’t seem practical, after all that work towards becoming an architect. Granted, some people still think I’m crazy, I did complete 5 years in my college’s architectural program, but this switch isn’t so strange. I’ve ALWAYS loved art. It was the class I lived for in high school. I excelled in my other classes because: 1. I don’t like to fail (oh the irony) 2. Great grades = great college + scholarships 3. If you don’t like the class, why blow it off only to have to repeat it; the list goes on…
So why become an architect, since I love art so much? Don’t get me wrong, I do love architecture as well and again it seemed practical. The impression I was given growing up was that to be an artist, you had to be struggling or starving (very cliché). Little did I know of graphic design. I do know though that if I had continued with architecture that I would have tried to put myself in the positions where I could work on the graphics (building renderings/illustrations) and interactive installations.
If I had a chance to do it all over again, would I do it differently? Probably not. I’m not saying life’s been a bed of roses since I made the switch. There’s a lot I need to teach myself and I’m still looking for more stable employment (anyone know of a paid graphic design internship please let me know or if you need some work done, let’s talk ). However, success extends beyond what you do. The relationships I’ve made at college are priceless. Some friends are more like family and my future children already have weekends booked at their future homes. I wouldn’t have met them if I had gone somewhere else and that would’ve been tragic. Also the people I’ve meet since moving to Florida have made a huge impact on my life and I’ve grown so much closer to my actual family here. You just can’t make the same connection in Italy through Skype.
So this is failure. I’m dealing with it, learning from it, and hopefully becoming a better person because of it.
Please check out 9 Reasons Why Failure is Not Fatal and here is J.K Rowling’s full speech.