So what did I do?
I did what every other 20 year old does.
Continue school till the end and graduate not really knowing what would come next.
Well, 2020 happened and the rest was world history.
For me, I was whisked into the family business learning the ways of mom and pops for the next 2 years.
During that time, I learned something really important about myself.
I love marketing.
And I’m not too shabby with using social media as a business tool.
Why this is important is because my above 2 passions has brought me more opportunities during these 2 years than the subject matter I studied for 5 years.
Not to say that getting an education isn’t valuable—because it definitely is.
All I’m saying is, I took a chance on myself and persisted in things I loved and was curious about.
The end result is that I’m wholeheartedly happy doing what I do.
And I’d love to help others do the same too.
In school they tell you the most important things you need to do are the following:
- Aim for a high status job title
- Achieve good grades
- Follow the course curriculum
Amongst other things, I learned what really matters is:
- Financial literacy, meaning understanding the role money plays in your life and learning how to use your money when you have it
- How you treat others. Often times, the kind of energy you give out is the kind of energy you receive in return
- Being able to distinguish what’s important and what’s not—in all aspects of life and business, there will be many distracting opinions and events to create FOMO
What I studied: design
What I do now: restaurant operations and marketing by day, building a special community of creative people by night
Life isn’t always linear (and that’s the fun of it)
Why you should take your creativity seriously (especially when you’re not being graded on it).
That is all.
The day I left school was the day I went into our family business full time.
That day was the same day I learned that I knew absolutely nothing about anything, especially after 5 years of design school.
Because what they teach you in any given academic program is so narrow. You end up leaving everything else the world has to offer on the table, while at the same time believing that you know so much because you’ve “graduated” and have a fancy sheet of paper.
If you’ve recently graduated, or will be graduating soon, there are a lot of things outside of school that you have yet to see. Don’t let your degree fool you into thinking you’ve got everything together (by the way, it’s totally okay if you don’t have everything together. Nobody has everything together).
So you’ve graduated from your 4-5 years of study in an art/design school. Now what?
I’m writing this thinking that most of you who will read it are from my circle of friends and colleagues (meaning we went to school and graduated together. Thank you for sticking by). I’m sure there’s a side of you who wishes to improve your design work. I’m certain there’s a part of you that wants to see the creative work you’re capable of. In order for that growth to happen, we need to be students again.
What are you actively trying to improve? How will you do it?
What we learned with The Habit Factory is that learning is not restricted to school environments. We don’t need the traditional education model to be the backbone of our career’s success.
We’re launching a new workshop in the upcoming year. It will be for upcoming UX designers and UX researchers who want to take their craft seriously (there’s no sign up page for it yet, but this is a heads up that it’s coming). If you know of anyone who might be interested in beginning a career within the UX field, they can subscribe to our newsletter (at the bottom of the website) for workshop updates.
More on the workshop to come soon!
Learning doesn’t only happen inside a classroom.
Finishing your assignments and getting an A is one thing, but making meaningful change happen in a real environment is another.
We’d be in deep trouble if we all approach everyday life the same way we approach rubric-guided assignments. Everybody would be afraid to get a C- when they do a push up for the first time in months. It would be devastating to receive a D when all you wanted was to learn how to draw or code.
If we’re not going to be graded, how might we conduct ourselves moving forward? Where else can we get an A? To start, maybe that’s not the question we should be asking.
When we don’t have to be graded, how do we do our best learning?
The bottom line of this post is the following: Learning is not a grade. Learning isn’t exclusive to young people in an educational institution. Most importantly, learning continues after graduation.
It’s becoming more and more apparent that expensive, in-person, 90 minute lectures aren’t the only way to learn a subject. It’s also evident that you no longer need physical classrooms to meet new people and put yourself in new communities. And now that holding a degree no longer delivers the promise of a high paying job after graduation, what’s left?
At The Habit Factory, we’re focused on a different kind of classroom. Rather than a large expense to pay over time, it’s relatively affordable to get yourself going. Rather than being assigned projects you don’t have interest in, you design projects to suit your needs.
When your peers are genuinely invested in the work they do, their behaviour shifts. In other words, we get better work done in a shorter period of time simply because our members love what they do.
The kind of people who join a Habit Factory workshop aren’t people who want accreditation (because we don’t hold that kind of international prestige). Instead, the kind of people who join a Habit Factory workshop are there because they want to grow and learn and change.
If this sounds like something you want to be a part of, check out our website at www.habitfactory.space and sign up for the newsletter to receive updates about upcoming cohorts.
We’re all capable of learning, but the way we think we do it best is no longer in one big box with a professor.
Since it’s been well over a year from leaving school, I thought it would be fun to write a summary of my thoughts around it.
- At first you’re not really going to understand a single thing, and you’re going to complain about it to your friends and future colleagues
- You’re going to put a lot of effort (sometimes entire nights) into projects that aren’t for someone else, but for yourself to learn and improve from
- When you start to see what other professionals working in the field do, you’re going to want to go waaaaay further than the school brief told you to
- Knowing a little bit about the other art and design disciplines go a long way, so go out of your own way to learn about them
- Critiques aren’t there to boost your ego. They’re there so you can understand what your work looks and sounds like from the perspective of someone else. This is critical.
- Your peers (future colleagues and acquaintances) are going to be your favourite kind of people
- When you leave, you’re going to wish you took more chances on yourself. But hey, you’re 22 and life has just begun.
Something I get asked a lot by restaurant staff and customers is, why am I not working in the design field after studying for it?
My answer is relatively simple.
We’re no longer living in an environment where a many post-secondary degrees carry value (some are still important to have, but many aren’t).
But the fake urgency to stay on the same track as we’ve been on for the past 4-6 years is real.
I admit, it’s hard to hold constant energy for something you don’t truly care about.
And frankly, I think that’s why I couldn’t stand up to applying for design jobs.
I believe there’s plenty of room (and time) in the world for young people like us to simply explore something else.