When I started college in 2011, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to with the rest of my life. The job section of my five-year plan was blank. Like many starting college students, the only thing I knew was that I didn’t want to be stuck working at a minimum wage, unskilled labor position for the next 50 years.
I might as well have remained undeclared. Essentially, I was. I began my freshman year taking business courses: introduction to business, economics, pre-calculus, and even accounting -which lasted all of two weeks before dropping the class. Needless to say, I found myself uninterested in the subject matter and quickly realized that business management was not for me.
Same story, but I began to head into the right direction. When I changed majors to journalism, I enrolled in several communication electives including digital photography, photojournalism, and web page design. While I ultimately decided that not only did I not want to be a journalist, but also that I didn’t want to be a photojournalist either, these courses introduced me to a little program I – and everyone else – like to call Adobe Photoshop.
I’d heard of the great wonders of Photoshop and was guilty of using the program’s name as a verb, “Oh, you can just Photoshop that, right?”, but I had never experienced the program for myself. I fell in love with photo editing, retouching, and manipulation, but it was not until taking web page design that I began to truly develop my passion for graphic design.
In web page design, in addition to using Dreamweaver and learning basic html coding, I found myself designing buttons, icons, and more for the sites we were creating. I was quickly hooked and began making typography-based posters and creative art in my spare time. Over the next summer I took an additional course on desktop publishing through InDesign, which, in my opinion, is the weakest of the design programs I’ve used, but that’s beside the point.
As I traveled farther and farther down Adobe’s creative trail, I finally reached the program that has truly transformed my hobby and growing interest in graphic design into a full-fledged passion: Illustrator. I cannot stress enough how much I love this program.
My fall “Graphic Design: Illustrator” course snowballed into further exploring the program, refining my skills, and developing new techniques with every opportunity I had. Near the midway point of the semester, a friend in a media planning and buying course told me about the site 99designs.com, a site where businesses post paid graphic design requests in the form of a competition from anywhere from a couple hundred dollars for business card to upwards of thousands for full web site design.
Once I finally set up an account and began designing, I couldn’t stop. I have been freelancing ever since. My work has expanded to DesignCrowd.com, selling some of my artwork on Society6.com, as well as several connections that I have made through Instagram and designing a variety of print items for my best friend’s church. I truly love my job and look forward to all of the places it will take me.
I can say with confidence that I have finally found my creative niche. I know that this is the area that God has been focusing my life toward since before I was born from my obsession of creating and building Legos as a kid, to photography from high school to present, and now seeing my passions further developed through graphic design. I wouldn’t change a single thing.
That being said, if you take nothing nothing else from this, don’t feel like you have to have all the answers right now. If I have learned nothing else in my lifetime it is that uncertainty is universal throughout every stage of life. The truth is, we don’t always know what we are doing and probably never fully will. All that we can do is trust that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him. Use the gifts that God has given you and don’t be shy to keep trying new things! I think Nike said it best, just do it.
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Thank you for reading and happy designing!
.: Aaron :.