I was an industrial design major who knew industrial design wasn’t the right fit for me

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. 

And then? 

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. 

What They Don’t Tell You In School

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

Learning Only Works When You’re Interested

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.

On Study And Work

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. 

Do I Regret Being an A+ Student?

I’ve been 8 months out of school finally, and I’m here to say that being an A student doesn’t guarantee you anything (I would know because I was one for the most part).

No shortcuts, no “better jobs”, no financial security. 

So to the question, do I regret being an A student? The answer is no, because frankly I think I was good at school and it taught me a lot of things about time, people, and self management.

But, one thing I wish I could have done more of, rather than staying up late nights to perfect a written essay or to pixel push till perfection, would be finding what really makes me an artist or a creative.

What I Really Think After 5 Years of Design School

I found my degree in the mail yesterday.

It came in a black folder and was bent down the middle as it was forcefully stuffed into our tiny community mailbox.

Five years of school, and an unexpected final semester later, I get the chance to consider the weight a degree holds in our current world.

A couple of decades ago, a post-secondary degree would have carried a lot more value to families, society, and most importantly the students themselves. Now it’s part of our checklist of growing up.

And now we’re going through another shift in the culture of education.

Knowing what I know now, I would encourage a younger Anna to take this very moment to rethink schooling, because it turns out that education and learning are two different things.

It’s nice to have a good education, but it’s a lot more interesting to discover how you learn best and gravitate towards what you genuinely hold interest in.

It seems like now would be a really good time to do the second option.

Back to School

A lot of the value from post-secondary school was from the live community that surrounded it.

Many schools have yet to figure how to deliver value online. How might we deliver a traditionally multi-thousand dollar educational experience remotely? Maybe the better question is, what do these thousands of students really care about? 

Is it possible to create genuine human connection and deliver meaningful experiences through online platforms, and if so where is that happening right now?

Thousands of students and parents are counting on schools to step up, because it’s hard to force ourselves to do more of the same thing we were doing in classrooms (e.g. not really paying attention) but online.

A cheap way out would be to digitalize lectures, give out the same assignments (but tweak them enough so that it’s possible to do it from home), and grade students the same way as we did before.

Or we could try something different.

It could be more emotionally engaging, the material more centred upon important problems between now and the future, or we could have more focus on how much is being learned rather than how much can be graded.

It’s a difficult situation to make for everyone involved, as education is critical at a time like this.

That’s my rant, and I hope everybody who has the luxury of going back to school stays safe and healthy.