Everything is a Choice

Once upon a time there was a senior in high school…

A good student with lots of school achievements, I was awarded a scholarship to Auburn University and sent on my way.

Originally, I considered majoring in clinical psychology and eventually getting my masters degree. I looked at the situation and believed I should not major in psychology because I was not perfect myself. It was silly to talk myself out of areas where I would succeed, but I was only 17 when I started college and more than a little naive.

Everything is a choice…

But I was fraid to take a risk. The risk of majoring in something less common. Of working towards a B.F.A. specializing in Visual Communication (Design) Why design? Because creativity fuels my soul. Creating good design is satisfying to me and yet inspires me again. My parents were concerned until I reminded them how creative people were such an integral part of my life. My parents owned an art gallery in Atlanta when I grew up and we went to many, many art shows in the Southeast where their clients sold their work. I was surrounded by creativity through design, music or creative writing but took it for granted. Later I realized I understood how the artists around me expressed themselves. They incorporated their unique talent and perspective with the use of (or choice to deliberatly ignore) proven design principals.

Good design uses universal principals and I wanted to learn more, practice and be challenged. I realized this was my one opportunity to take the leap to do what I love, not just stumble through college. So I met with the Dean, discussed my goals, filled out paperwork and I was on my way: A student at Auburn University working towards a B.F.A. with a specialization in Design.

After graduation I landed a terrific graphic design job at a publishing company doing magazine layouts and later in the real estate industry designing logos, sales collateral and billboards. I even won an award for that. Attention naysayers: I had great jobs and made good money using my B.F.A. in design. Later my degree offered flexibility to move with transfers for my husband’s job and be a work-at-home-Mom of 3 boys. I had my own web design agency working with 2 employees. At this time my focus is specializing in website maintenance and trouble shooting aka fixing disasters. I love it.

Nothing in anyone’s career is static. Successful people are fluid and diverse in their approaches to challenges. They use all of their knowledge and skills. Diverse skills must be encouraged and nurtured in school so that every student can develop their unique gifts whether it’s graphic design, music or fine art. Brandon Deike, a music teacher at Forest Area Community Schools, posted a terrific article from another WordPress.com blog that shares evidence of the impact of music education. The article is “A child’s brain develops faster with exposure to music education“. It discusses a study that shows

“exposure to music and music instruction accelerates the brain development of young children in the areas responsible for language development, sound, reading skill and speech perception.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: exposing children to diverse forms of art and fostering an apprecition of Yo-Yo Ma to Jean-Michel Basquiat will give them the pleasure of discovering their favorites and may give them the courage to follow their dreams.