A ten month graduate program can feel like a whirlwind at times, but in the best way possible. Throughout the last eleven weeks, I have found myself clinging to quotes and mantras to help power through the late nights or early mornings.
“Trust the process” – Literally Everyone
This is a quote that we have heard from professors and alumni who have come back to speak to us. From what I can tell, based on what previous alumni have said, trust the process is a quote that carries past the classroom and into the office. To fully grasp what this quote meant, I asked professor Motley and his explanation is spot on!
“Creativity and good design “on demand” can be a challenge. Buying into the concept of process gives you a way forward even when you might be creatively stuck. There are many variations of design processes; for the most part, those variations do not really matter. What does matter, though, is that individual designers should come up with a process that works for them. What do you do when you hit the wall creatively? How do you ensure consistent high-quality results with projects. How do you work through the obvious/cliché ideas to ones that are more unique and interesting? I believe you do that by following the same process for all of your work.” – Motley
“I’m on vacation every single day because I love my occupation” – The Dirty Heads
I’m sure you are thinking, “Ashley.. how can a band called Dirty Heads help you stay focused on your job search?” Well, I am glad you asked. I have always wanted my career path to be enjoyable, to the point where work feels more like a hobby with payroll. When you are in an accelerated master’s program, the average time spent in the classroom is cut in half but the workload is not. The quick turnaround time for assignments can cloud your creativity, making tasks that were once enjoyable monotonous. To avoid the ugly, green, wearisome monster from taking control, it is extremely important to remind yourself of the big picture. For me, the big picture consists of finding my niché so upon graduation I can find a job where everyday feels like a vacation.
“You can’t help others be their best, if you are not at your best” – Myself
With the steady flow of assignments, I discovered that I subconsciously put blinders to what was happening outside of the assignments. I let myself slip into the routine of school, homework, sleep, and repeat. I was so focused on devoting all of my time to the assignments in front of me that I forgot to take time for myself. I started letting my mental health slip and found myself in a creative block for most of my assignments, but I didn’t know why. Out of nowhere, it hit me like a brick wall. A friend of mine text me asking for advice and good vibes. After listening to what had been weighing her down that week, what I said in responsive rolled off of my tongue before I could process what I was saying. “You can’t help others be their best, if you are not at your best.” After I processed what I told her, it was like a weight was lifted. I wasn’t at my best and the blinders took over.
A few weeks ago, we found out our fly-in locations. Since then we have hit the ground running by having meetings, assigning roles, and beginning the initial plans. I realized, I can’t contribute to my group or help our client to the fullest extent of my skill set if I am am unable to see past the four walls of my apartment or the classrooms in Long. I need to start taking more time for myself to boost my creativity. Since taking time for myself, I am refreshed and on fire for this program more than ever.
“Working hard for something you love is called passion, not stress.” – Pinterest
The typical response I hear when I tell people that I am in a 10 month master’s program is “That must be really difficult. You seem to be in good spirits despite being stressed.” Truthfully, I don’t really feel stressed, I feel motivated. The purpose of a master’s program is to refine a skill set that you already have a passion for. The amount of projects, assignments, blog posts, and papers are not meant to stress you out, but rather take your passions to the next level.