This weekend gone just marked a year since I graduated from SCAD aka college. As a result, I’ve been thinking a lot about my life and the decisions I’ve made and what exactly I have to show as a result of being a member of the “real world” for a year. So I’m about to delve into my “journey”, for lack of a better cliché, this past year.
I graduated on Saturday, June 2nd 2012, after being the last graduate to arrive, after years of being the person always on time and usually first to arrive.
After months of searching, interviewing and to be a bit of a downer, being rejected, I accepted a 3 month internship at ATLeisure (an outdoor furniture design studio and manufacturer and supplier in Atlanta) and started work on June 25th, working on the branding of the company. After 3 months, I decided I wanted to go home (Trinidad) and instead of staying on permanently with ATLeisure as was offered, worked out a way to be a contractor from home. I then packed up my life in a metal box otherwise known as storage and left for… London.
I went to Europe for the first time (finally)! I went to London with my aunt and mother on my way home from Atlanta to Trinidad and did not have the grand adventures and joyous moments as dreamt of whenever Europe came to mind. It was cold, it was rainy, it was grey, it was not home and to put the cherry on top, I lost my passport! Ok so it wasn’t all terrible, I went to museums and got to see the Phantom of the Opera at the theatre, I ate Indian food as if it was going to be extinct when I left London, I drank cider to my heart’s content, I sang karaoke and gave my mother her first tequila shot, I saw the Stonehenge and some other touristy things! So it was not a waste of miles and money at all but dreams were still crushed.
Then in the month of October, I returned to my first love, Trinidad. Eager, excited, ready to embark on life post college, ready to do awesome things, ready to work and start a life on my own, ready to reconnect with old friends, ready to party, ready to meet new people, ready! And naive. Reality had a different idea.
I landed an interview the day after I returned, with my dream company in Trinidad, the one place I wanted to work at that time, and guess who did not get the job? Still determined and not yet crushed, I persisted and instead ended up in a month long internship based at Abovegroup Ogilvy working for Alex Smailes on his photography exhibition and book launch. There, although I was not a part of the team I wanted to be on, I got to see the culture, the work, the people that I was striving to become and be a part of. The dream was not dead yet. In November, after lots of hard work and long nights, the exhibition “10” was a success and with over 200 books to be sold, I kept on producing them and selling them for the next 4 months. These next 4 months became my dream crusher stage. I realized they weren’t going to hire me, I realized I’d been out of school for 6 months and didn’t have “the job”, I realized that I needed to start looking at other places, options and stop waiting. I decided I was going to have to come down to a different reality and lower my expectations. I decided to settle.
In March, I took a trip back to Atlanta, to visit my friends, get stuff out of storage, and just think for a bit and in April I accepted an offer for a 2 year contract as Desktop Publisher at a Caribbean financial company in Trinidad. On May 1st, I was eager to make things work, to do my best, to be the best asset to this company as I can possibly be and be a great designer. Reality pumped the breaks on that eagerness immediately! No computer, no work, no design work, PowerPoint, IBM, PC, Windows Vista were to become my reality and rude awakening. And that reality slap was just the inspiration I needed.
I may not be in a position to be picky or quit jobs with no future prospects but I decided some years ago that I would not work simply to make money. My goal in life now is to grow and learn and become a better designer and belong and be a part of something good/great/amazing/inspiring and I plan to see that through. As discouraged as I may feel being in my own country with no sign of “promise” I’m not a person who wants to give up on dreams…as naive as I may be, as ignorant of reality, as hopeless as I may sound…I’ve decided to stop waiting, stop hoping, stop expecting and start creating and making things that I want happen. So I’m grateful if not for anything else, for the lessons this past year has taught me and it crushed all the old dreams and made way for new ones.
Here’s to the years to come!