Daily Archives: April 20, 2011

Advice #36: I Love Design But I Am Afraid of Change!

ask nubby advice


ask nubby advice

Source: Julian Bialowas.


Hi! I see how you adore your job, you put a lot effort into it and, in my opinion, that’s the most important element: PASSION. I’m only 18 and I have realized that I’m just studying physics because it’s like a “safe” way to live my life. You know, you graduate, you get a job, you marry and have children … all those things. I’m afraid of doing what I want to do, what I like to do. I love graphic design and I’m now thinking about my options. How did you arrive at where you are now, what’s your job exactly and how does it work?


Remember that life isn’t a big check list.

You’re not in a race through an obstacle course, checking off your adherence to societal standards, one by one. As we get older, it becomes even more clear that our happiness and well-being are often more important than the perceived clout we get from a job title. If you’re not in school for a career that you feel passionate about, it tends to only get worse with time.


Relax. We learn through trial and error.

In life, I’m a firm believer that sometimes you have to try out a few things that you don’t necessarily like before finding the right fit. Because then when you finally do, you just know. It’s about trial and error — at some point, most of us will end up at jobs that we end up hating or choose a college major that isn’t the best fit. When you do make mistakes, take the opportunity to learn from them…and then move on. Then file it away under life experience!

You have to do what’s best for you. In the end, you’ll accomplish nothing except feeling miserable if you’re just going through the motions, trying to live up to an ideal that doesn’t necessarily mesh with what you want. If you’re determined enough, you’ll probably hit every one of those goals (degree, career, married and children) before 30 and then what? Will you be happy? Or look back and wish that at 18, you’d decided to take the graphic design route because that was REALLY what you wanted to do?


How did I arrive at where I am?

Right now, I am happy with where I’m at but it took years to get to this place. I’m a designer and blogger, both of which I love and set out to do a long time ago. I’ve been actively blogging since 2001, most importantly because I enjoy it. I’ve always felt like my work, life, surroundings and style were all interconnected. While my design work is very important to me, it’s a snapshot of a much bigger picture, much of which gets shared daily on my blog.

I’ve been designing professionally since 2007 though I started dabbling a few years before. 2007 was the year that I got my first agency internship. The second I graduated in 2008, I started working full-time and transitioned to freelance in 2009. A career in design isn’t easy. You have to be really passionate about it because the task of constantly trying to deliver your best work possible meshed with what the client wants (they’re paying you, after all) can be incredibly stressful at times. But that feeling of getting a complement from a client or seeing your work in print just can’t be beat.

Like you, I have always been very practical when it comes to school and a career — I’m just not one of those fearless, ‘anything goes’ types of people! I had no idea that graphic design was a career option until my mid-twenties! So on I went, doing what I felt was the most practical and earning a business degree. I’ve always loved marketing and advertising and anyway, I wondered, where would I get a job with an art degree?

Once I’d finished, I felt like something was missing. By 2005, I’d discovered graphic design and was doing small freelance jobs. I soon realized that half of being a designer is made up of what you don’t see — gathering assets, setting up files, the production. So, back to school I went. Since I’d already gone the ‘practical’ route (like you) and trudged through all the classes I’d deemed un-fun (namely pre-calculus), going back to school for design was a total dream. I was passionate about it, excited to learn every single day and the time flew by. If you feel that you’re in the wrong major, don’t suffer through it ‘just because!’


Follow your passion.

It’s never too late to make a switch. Only you can make a decision about what’s best for you. If you have a nagging feeling that something isn’t right or keep wondering ‘is this all there is?’ then stop and listen to your intuition. You’re in charge of your happiness.

Of course, getting from Point A to Point B isn’t magic! You have to first decide if a switch to design is what you want and if it’s the right choice for right now. Next, you have to make a plan. What school will you go to? How will you afford it? Next, you have to set some goals. How long are you going to give yourself to finish school? To build a portfolio? To find steady work once you’re finished? Finally, ask yourself…what is holding you back? What are you afraid of? Once you answer that, you can break through and take the next step. Good luck!