A YEAR OF PROGRESS
As my sophomore year comes to a close, there is one word that sticks out as a summary of this year and that is progress. In all sorts of shapes, sizes, and amounts, the progress I’ve made this year is worth celebrating rather than scrutinizing.
Over the course of this year I had to remind myself to not scrutinize when even the smallest steps are right and good when they’re moving you towards your goal. Sometimes it is so easy to feel like small movements are pointless or to consistently refer to where we started and not where we’re going, or at least that is the case for me.
Earlier this semester I remember standing next to one of my professors admiring the senior graphic design students’ final project and wondering how I could ever create something like that. A goal worth achieving, but it felt like one I could never reach until my professor helped me realize I was already working towards it and not just with little steps, but leaps. At the beginning of my sophomore year I started my internship with the UT Athletic Department began designing graphics. I remember how excited I was when I posted my first designs and started seeing them being featured on Twitter and Instagram. I told my professor about this and began to tear apart piece by piece my first designs and how terrible I thought they were now, but in reality, those designs were leaps towards becoming a better designer. Every graphic and design I’ve made through my internship is better, cleaner, and more intentional than the last.
This year I also took my first art classes and each project was a completely new medium and understanding for me. I’ve taken a lot of pride is art forms I never thought I could create works in and saw these new understandings transform things I was making digitally. Though compared to my peers, my art may not have been the best, I understood my progress. My process of creation changed and expanded making me a better designer, creator, and student.
Being surrounded by talented, smart students and professors can feel intimidating rather than inspiring. I found myself constantly comparing rather than learning and those were the moments where I lost the chance for progress and creation and replaced it with regression and closed-mindedness. I critically picked apart pieces with different intentions made by different artists with different ideas and experiences and wondered why mine didn’t look like theirs. This mindset stopped the formation of new ideas and irrational thinking from the start. My work was progress that is good.
This expanded past my designing into advertising and fitness and overall adulting, but I’ll save that for another blog post. As I find myself reflecting, I look at all the people who’ve inspired me with their work and wonder why we can’t be inspired by ourselves. The work we do is hard, tiring, stressful, amazing, beautiful, and is progress and today I celebrate that.