Post-College Thoughts: What I did wrong

Welcome to the first of many coffee+chat posts.
These posts are dedicated to self-reflection and to help you think about your own life experiences, as well as realizing that I’m also, far from perfect.

Topic for Week #001 – What I did wrong in college

I approached college like any unprepared high school graduate would.
My boyfriend at the time said he wanted to go, so I went too.

We didn’t bother looking around, we just went to the cleaner “big city” that was close to us. That so happened to be IPFW, in Fort Wayne. I came in thinking I wanted to teach elementary education and he, well, he was undecided.

I chose to jump into something that was familiar, I had coached gymnastics since I was a freshman in high school and spent year-round with younger children teaching them a skill that I had mastered. That’s like teaching, right? Wrong.

I ended up changing my major after the first year of being in college. I spoke to a lot of mentors in the process, worried about what it was that I was going to do for the rest of my life and where I should go next. I reached out for guidance the best way I knew, and continued to talk to those who’s opinion I valued. I eventually ended up in Graphic Design.

I knew nothing about Graphic Design or even what it meant. I spent the following three years getting a tiny idea of what the large picture really was going to look like.

Reflecting back a year after graduating, I really do wish I would have had a more solid plan going into college. I focused on getting my Cosmetology license while I was in high school because it was one of the only technical “schools” that really stuck out to me. Maybe there were other options that my school offered, but I just didn’t know about them.
I read an article today from where the follow quote came from,

“…A better option is to audit a college course as a high school student or attend a community college and take a few courses without the big expense of attending full-time at a four-year college. Some high schools now offer dual enrollment with colleges so that high school students can earn college credits while still attending high school.”

This was an option?! I never knew this was an option in high school. I knew there were courses for the “smart kids”… but never knew there was a chance that I could be placed into these courses.

After striving through college, and maintaining extremely good grades, I felt guilt in wishing I would have been more prepared for choosing a college major. I wondered if my high school wasn’t making me push the way I needed pushed, and that I was breezing through college with these grades simply because my full potential was finally tapped into. In high school, I felt like I only did what I needed to get to my next competition/practice/game. As a result, college kicked me in gear and really showed me what I was capable of. Knowing what I know now, I wish that I would have had a mentor in high school to show me what I was capable of and to help push me to be my best.

I hope school systems can help the generations of now to be better prepared for college and to know more about what their options are before they walk across that high school graduation stage. It’s so important to get high school students excited about what they could be doing and what they are capable of.

Nonetheless, here I am, 4-years of design later, and things just keep getting more and more interesting. I’ve placed some of my work at the bottom of this post for your viewing pleasure, if you too, do not fully understand what Graphic Design is/was.

Thankfully, the skills that I have learned, I can use for many outside resources and therefore save money in the future when looking to invest in my own business or hey, even my logo for my blog here. I am grateful for these skills, because otherwise, I’d be trying to figure this all out on my own.

– Jennifer

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