Photo by Pedro Moura Pinheiro
There comes a point in all of our lives when we have to make a very tough decision, often between one decision or another. The answers are unclear. The consequences of the choices we make are unpredictable. We fall into these situations by chance – rarely do we force this decision making times upon ourselves.
I may have made a mistake.
I discovered my creativity around the age of 12 or 13. I was never an artist by any means, but I began to care about making things around that time. My creative passion started out with capturing moments in time, photographing friends doing tricks on their skateboards. I was never really great at skateboarding, so I figured I’d do a better job capturing my friends at what they did well.
Shortly after that, I slowly grew out of photography – it was too immediate for me. Photography, while I enjoyed it at the time, didn’t really quench my creative thirst. I quickly moved into graphic design, designing logos for the bands that I played in. My logo designs eventually turned into merchandise design and even MySpace layouts. It was with these MySpace layouts though, that I began to learn how to code. I learned new things and was becoming a creative person who loved designing something and making it work.
Fast forward to Fall of 2011. I began my semester as a freshman Visual Communications student at O’More College of Design. At this point, you could say I was a “developer” (embarrassingly enough, I did), but my skills did not extend far beyond HTML and CSS. O’More challenged me in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. I worked two part time jobs while attending school full time, taking away from the time I could focus on my school work.
From the beginning of my college career to now, I have grown in areas I didn’t think I could ever grow in. Last week I was watching Andrew Nacin’s You Don’t Know Query and I understood it.
I have grown from being a young high school kid with a love for graphic design, to young college student beginning to truly build the things I see in my head. I now have a full-time job as a web developer at a small agency in my hometown.
Thanks for the life story. What does this have to do with the fork in the road?
Let me preface the rest of this with one thing: by no means do I think that higher education is a waste of time for everyone / anyone. I believe that college can be a place for students to have the time they need to discover who they are and what their passions are. College is a place of not just learning, but growing and discovering. Growing, learning, and discovering are all things that I have to do, but I’m not sure if continuing my college design education is where I can do those things.
I am tremendously in love with design. I live and breath color and typography and design history. I will always want to design and create things that look great. I also love writing code. I’m not very advanced (in my own eyes anyway), but I believe it’s an area where I still can learn and grow very much. That is not to say I’m a great designer who can no longer grow anymore – my fork is simply deciding which direction to grow in.
O’More has changed a lot since I started attending the school, and most of the changes are definitely for the better. I have changed a lot too though, as you can see. I have grown to love building things that look great. I am realizing that I don’t have to be the one who designs it to still feel satisfied.
I know that there are many, many areas that I can learn and grow and strengthen my skills both in design and development. If I indeed want to truly grow though, I need to make a choice.
If I want to grow as a designer, I will cut back hours at my job and continue my education at O’More (with more hours than I have currently been taking). I will draw and sketch more and spend less time in front of a screen and keyboard. I’m already two years into school, and only have a little less than two years left to go. If I am indeed going to get a bachelor’s degree, now is the time for me to do so.
On the other hand, all of the information I could ever need about writing code is a search bar away from me. If I choose to focus on code, I will leave O’More and continue to work full time. At some point, I will then take classes at Nashville Software School. I will continue to design on personal and freelance projects, but I will spend more time focusing on building (or learning how to build) what it is that has been designed.
This is probably one of the more difficult decisions I will have to make in my lifetime. I know that ultimately, I will be okay. As a believer, I believe God will provide for me no matter what decision I make. That being said, designing and coding make me a very happy person. I am humble and I know I have a lot to learn still. Many people get the wrong idea and assume that because I have a job now, I feel all secure and think I don’t need college anymore.
The truth is, I’m not sure I wanted or needed college in the first place. I don’t know, and that is what makes this decision so much harder.