Speaking anecdotally, not having straightforward paths is both a relief and fertile source of anxiety. I think Robert Frost wrote something about that, I can’t really remember…in any case, the point I want to make is that it took me until grad school to actually strike a manageable balance between “path laid out” and “you’re on your own, kiddo.”
Art was not my background. Design was not my background. Creative writing and languages were my area, so I had a heck of a time and several steep learning curves to summit my first term of Track III. From the get-go, there was a lot of error to learn from. Regularly beating my ego into submission, graphic design really began to feel a tad like emotional labor. Funny enough, I don’t mind anymore.
As we frequently discussed in Discourse and Typography, and as most designers know, the abundant access to software, tools, and techniques lays ample foundation for self-taught design acolytes. Good for them! I envy people who seem to possess a sufficiently spongy brain to soak up information on their own time, and get good at it. That chip on my shoulder kept me from seeking mentors or even tutorials for a long time, but after this first term it’s clear to me that it was an issue of trust.
Trust in myself, trust in the process, trust in my malleable brain-meats…everything. I trust that my mistakes will clarify my technical skills, and I trust my colleagues to tell me what they need from me. We talk about trust as something to be built, but in that building process there’s a lot of release to be navigated. Release the terror of not being caught when we screw up, and we will screw up.
I trust that my screw ups will make me better at this.