My blog is having a little bit of an identity crisis. How does one write a blog about being a graphic designer who is going back to school for an engineering degree if one is no longer a graphic designer?
Today is my last day at work. I’m cleaning off my computer, packing boxes, taking down pictures and sending out emails to thank people I’ve enjoyed working with. This afternoon I will hand over my staff ID card and scrape the staff parking pass off my windshield. I will no longer be able to park right outside my classes or check out library books for six months. As much as I’ve anticipated this day and worked hard to coordinate all the details to make it possible, being a full-time university employee while also attending school for the past four years has really become my identity. And it’s going to be really strange walking away from it.
After a particularly difficult day in class a couple of weeks ago, I blurted out to my friend, “This semester has broken my spirit!” As soon as I said it, I wished I hadn’t. “Is that really true?” I thought to myself. If so, it’s pretty dire. I have revisited the statement numerous times since I said it, wavering back and forth between feeling that I was being overly dramatic and feeling that it was entirely accurate.
So I was invited to a painting party about a week ago. This is an event in which a bunch of friends get together at a little storefront in a strip mall wherein a bunch of canvases are set up. A “lead artist” takes the friends through the creation of a chosen painting while the friends drink wine, eat snacks and each person tries to convince the group that they are, in fact, the worst painter at the event. When it was all over, we each had a more-or-less identical painting of a whimsical little Christmas tree in a snowy grove at night.
I realized last week that I’ve completely lost my design mojo. Totally. Completely. Gone. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise considering the events of the last six months, as well as the fact that I’m currently putting myself through a grueling series of classes specifically so I can stop being a designer once and for all – but it was. Despite everything that’s happened, I’ve always found graphic design, in and of itself, to be interesting, challenging, thought-provoking and fun. I’m not a brilliant designer, but I’m a very competent one, and I think I really excel in certain areas.