Where has the time gone?

As I wrap up my second year in the MGD program, I can’t help but do that cliche thing and think about how far I’ve come as a designer, as a person, what I would say to my younger self, blah blah blah. It’s all very sappy.

But since we’re on the subject, I will say that I’ve come very far. When I first got here, I was fresh out of undergrad. 5 years. Did a victory lap at the end that ended with a raging pandemic and some personal, emotional scars. I couldn’t wait to get to Raleigh. I was ready to throw myself into a program that I thought for sure my BFA prepared me for. It wasn’t exactly like that, in the slightest, at all.

For one thing, I was confronted with the very evident dichotomy between art and design. I was brought up thinking they went hand in hand. Still do sometimes. I have a fine art background, and I thought the same sentiment that my professor shared with us, that we were artists first and foremost, would be echoed here in this program. It was nearly laughed off.

For another, my decisions are a lot more decisive than they used to be. I remember asking my undergrad professors “is this correct?” “What about this?” Now? I don’t ask. If I asked at every turn whether the color scheme or the typeface of choice was the “correct one”, it would undermine those years of learning. It would slow the process down. It would take away from the fact that I can back up my choices now with reasoning. That’s not to say that I don’t take constructive criticism well, but I can determine better and with a hell of a lot more confidence now than even two years ago which is the best course of action.

I’ve gotten better at public speaking and sharing my work. Yes, it’s still a very vulnerable thing to do. Yes, it’s still hard to separate yourself emotionally from your work. That will be a lifelong lesson to learn. But, my tone of voice has taken on a more professional, confident tone. And honestly, that will always mask the vulnerability. When you can showcase your work with something visibly akin to confidence, it will always be taken more seriously.

One more hot take before I sign off…art and design still go hand in hand. There, I said it. Sorry…also not sorry.