Coming to the end of a semester can leave me feeling like I want to provide a little something extra to send along with my students. This is only my second semester teaching at KCAD (I still love every second of it!) but I am already spotting trends in attitude and behavior that minimize my students success and maximize their frustration. So often, they are their own worst critics, inhibitors and stumbling blocks! And, this isn’t limited to my students!
Here is what I will be sharing with them as we go our separate ways…
Everyone defines success in different ways. That doesn’t mean that one way is better than another, just different. The way you define success and how you go about getting there is entirely up to you. Make the choice-because it is a choice every single day-to be the best at what you do-whether a visual artist or a designer. Don’t fall victim to the voices that tell you you are ‘less than’ anything. Only you can do what you do and it is ONLY YOU that can make it amazing. DO THAT. Period.
Figure out what works for you. Do you want to teach? Then work towards that. Do you want to find that dream job? Then do the hard work to get there. Do you want to ____________________? You fill in the blank and then take the steps to get there. You will get out of life exactly what you put into it-kind of like school. Don’t show up? Don’t do the work? Don’t stick with it? Get hung up on the wrong things? Don’t give it all you’ve got? Make excuses instead of progress? Then don’t be surprised when you don’t make the cut, don’t make the grade and don’t get very far.
Remember this though-the path that gets you to where you want to be will not always be the path you think it should be!! Seldom does a career follow a strait line or even a simple arc-it is usually circuitous or up and down, filled with blind corners and unexpected turns. Be open to the possibilities that come from unplanned opportunities. Make the best of these because, ultimately, they are what make you better along the way.
Make choices that will make you the best at what you do: Take care of yourself. Be healthy. Never stop learning. Never stop caring. Make eye contact. Move forward. Do the work. Do the work. Do the work. Find good. Be the good. Make a difference. Give. Receive. Work hard. Enjoy. Laugh and Never, EVER, give up.
I will end with the words of e. e. cummings–and one of my favorite quotes-
“To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”