As you surely know due to my angsty tweeting and lack of consistent posting, the past few months have been a little insane. I feel like I've been on a big roller coaster of decision-making from buying a property in New York, to selling my car, to basically deciding to settle down in one place for what (as a result) must be a long while.
I've been moving around since high school. I've lived in Baltimore, upstate New York, Virginia, and Georgia, so it's actually a little scary to me to be settled. I'm off the track. I went to college, got and quit my first jobs, and started and finished grad school...
As of right now—days away from turning 28—I'm a single girl in a big city with a job I really like. All of a sudden, this is my life. I'm not an inbetweener anymore, and navigating these waters (solo) can be a little intimidating. Thank God for good friends who just so happen to be on the same journey.
So, basically I just want you to know that when you see me snap an Instagram of a cool thing or a happy moment, I hope you don't take that as me trying to make my life look perfect. I can assure you that it's not. That's me trying to make a place for myself in a new environment, and using those moments to be okay with the place that I am in my life. Surely you can relate, right?
Story time. Just when you thought you'd heard everything...
The last time I called Manhattan home I was in high school. It was 2001, and I was sixteen. I had just finished tenth grade at a teeny-tiny Greenwich Village stronghold—The Little Red Schoolhouse. It was our third year living in The City after having been transplanted there (me, kicking and screaming) from Baltimore—my birthplace, my hometown—and the safe surroundings of the all-girls prep school I love(d). My mom had just finished her Masters in Theology at seminary (she's now a priest). We lived in Chelsea on 20th Street at 9th Avenue in a school-owned building adjacent to her gated early-1800s campus.
During our stay in New York, the seminary was our private little world. At the time, the surrounding neighborhood was not so friendly. Chelsea Market was a brand new idea, and the now infamous art galleries had just started going in along the riverfront. The beautiful High Line was not even a twinkle in the city's eye, and the giant Meatpacking District Apple Store? It was a grungy grocery/butchery called Western Beef that smelled absolutely awful, I might add. The Sex and the City style of civic romance had not yet trickled down to my age group. New York was still a dangerous and wild terrain to be conquered.
PHOTO BY JAMIE BECK
As for me, I took the C/E train downtown to school on weekdays and taxis to Times Square to shop at this newfangled fun store called "Sephora" on weekends. I played varsity basketball (we were really bad), and wore a scoliosis back brace, which I carried home in a plastic trash bag on the subway after practice or games. No one ever looked at me funny. I took tennis lessons in place of gym class down near Wall Street, and hit golf balls at the Chelsea Piers driving range with my brother when he came to visit from his boarding school in Virginia. In the evenings after school, I ate meals at the seminary refectory with my non-school friends and fellow NYC transplants—the other future PKs (Preacher's Kids). We were a mean little club, us teen-aged Seminary girls... We had to be. New York was, well... New York.
In the summer of 2001, the crazy 3-year ride was over. We packed up our 2-bedroom apartment and moved back to Baltimore, where I rejoined the same school girls I had known since kindergarden a very different person. As we all know, just weeks later the world changed forever...
Now, I realize this is getting long-winded. This is a story about me and the city I love. It's truly the place that helped me to grow up. It's the intermittent home that forced me to understand other cultures and ideas and personalities because thankfully there was no room to hide from them. Tough love, baby.
As most of you know, I've been living in Connecticut and commuting to the city every day for work. It's been exhausting, draining, and a slew of other negative adjectives. Needless to say, I'm excited for a change. But moving back to Manhattan is not only a matter of convenience. It's kind of a special thing to me. I changed so much in those three years in high school. Every time I visited the city after 2001, it was like being home again. I knew it was only a matter of time until I found my way back.
This week, oddly enough I'm looking forward to a few long nights of packing and last-minute errands because (for the fourth time in this blog's history) I'm moving! This time, the new place will be my home for a longgg while. Hello, New York. I'm back!
Google Reader is the newest casualty in the company's venture to streamline its product offerings (and no-so-subtly push us towards Google+). Boo! I feel like an era is coming to an end.
If you wish to stay connected with Note to Self, I encourage you to move your RSS subscriptions to an alternative syndication reader (suggestions welcome) and/or subscribe using... Bloglovin • Facebook • Email Subscription (that is, until Google axes Feedburner. Will keep you updated!)
(Trying to be a little less teachery and more personal today.) How did I know I wanted to be a graphic designer? It was certainly not smooth sailing, that’s for sure. It still isn't. I'm still figuring out exactly what I want. I think most of my internal battle has to do with my history of listening to everyone else but myself for far, far too long...
I’ve always been interested in art. My grandmother loved to draw and dabble in crafts and interior decorating. My aunt is a wonderful painter. My dad is a designer and a great businessman. Both of my parents love traveling, art and history. It clearly rubbed off on me... So I guess I can blame (thank) them. Along with my art history major track in college, I took as many studio classes as possible and sketched or painted habitually (I still have an easel in my house and paint from time to time!) I took a very basic “digital art” class (aka Photoshop 101) as a senior in 2007. After graduation when I was working in an art gallery, I pinched my pennies to buy a new desktop Mac and Adobe Creative Suite and got to work teaching myself how to use everything. (I still learn new tricks from other designers at work every day. You can never learn it all...)
As for what graphic design is like to study, I can honestly say that it is not for the faint of heart. You have to really, really love it, almost to the point of obsession. The feedback can be brutal, the professors and other students subjective or clouded in ego... Oy. Some nights were endless and the class materials bankrupting (Printers! Printing fees! Paper! Software! Tablets! Xacto blades! Laser cutting! Mounting! Spray adhesive! Goof Off to unstick your hands from each other! The list goes on and on...) In the end, I found that studying graphic design was not at all meant for me. In fact, it nearly broke me. There’s some brutal honesty for you.
From that experience, I was literally driven into the arms of what I really needed to be doing. I found it in SCAD's Design Management degree program, which approaches business from a designer’s perspective and vise-versa. And even though many of those classes were brutal and the all-nighters equally plentiful, it was thrilling and exhausting and mind-bending and frustrating and wonderful all at the same time — sort of like what I imagine marriage must be like... Ha!
Anyway, that program mixed with blogging on the side helped me bridge the gap between my love for hands-on approach to problem-solving (design) and the strategic thinking DMGT taught me. My current job is just an extension of this happy occupational marriage, and I’m really loving it. Never in a million years would I have expected my life or my career to turn out this way. Suffice it to say: You’ll know your field when you find it. I wish I had a better answer than that.
I will say this: Something about being a young adult makes people want to tell you that it’s not possible to be an artist or to take a route where your job depends entirely on “making things.” I graduated and took a desk job that I hated, found myself turning to “making things” in my free time, and in the end it’s what I do for a living anyway. So take that, naysayers! Thanks for the legwork, universe. My advice here is simple: if it feels right, it's right. We’re on the path to awesome.
Any design students (former or current) out there want to share their wisdom?
SHARING: Each and every post is designed by me (Sarah) exclusively for Note to Self. Please do not use them on your blog sans propper credit. Please do feel free to Pin/Tumbl/Tweet this work, but recognize that most posts take hours (even days) to create and often include images I do not own but always source. As such, I ask thatbloggers always include an explicit link back to the original post. You rock.
IMAGE SOURCES: If you ever find an image to be (unintentionally) missing a linkor sourced incorrectly, please send me an email or a Tweet. I will gladly make a change and high five you.
DISCLAIMER: The rumors are true. This blog does contain some paidadvertisements and affiliate links. This in no way influences the selection of content or directory links, as I will only share things I like and would choose to post regardless of commission potential.
PLAY NICE: Inappropriate, aggressively promotional, and/orneedlessly negative comments will be deleted almost immediately by the comment ninja.