Monday, October 6, 2008

Thoughts on the Journey

I've mused oh-so-many times on here (and countless more times to my husband) about my vocation -basically seeking the answer to the question: what am I supposed to do with my life?

Last year, I probably checked several dozen books out of the "Careers" section of the library, and have taken a smattering of personality tests, interest inventories, and "what career fits your personality?" tests. Since I was in tenth grade, I've been fascinated with the idea of vocation- what do you do with you life?

{Let me pause for a moment to acknowledge that I recognize that this is a privilege to be able to wrestle with my "calling" and where my skills fit a need and where I'll be most fulfilled - many people do not get to have such choices. I don't want to come off as a spoiled girl - complaining about the angst that accompanies this wonderful gift of choice.}

I've shared a brief history of how I got to where I am, but I think I've started to decide some things.

It was only after my strange fixation with ranking things in Excel....

evidence of my ocd

And my wonderful class...
[exhibit a: elements and priciples of art]
My creation
(clockwise from top left: 3 projects, color, rhythm, and contrast)
[exhibit b: flier redos]

Picture 009

Picture 008

[exhibit c: personal flier for work]modd

And a conversation in my design class...

Teacher: You have a very interesting style...where did you go to school?

Me (trying to determine if I'm being insulted..): Uh...the University of Dayton.

Teacher: And what was your degree in?

Me: Education and religion studies.... (still unsure where this is going)

Teacher: Did you ever take any art or desgin classes? I'm wondering where your design style comes from.

Me: No...I mean, I was the yearbook and newspaper editor in high school.

Teacher: I'm just asking because you have a very advanced sense of layout and design for this level of class. It's a good thing - a very good thing. You don't normally see this sort of design without training.

Me: (Passing out with happiness. And quickly calling Mike after class to squeal that "ohmigosh,someoneinthindustrythinksi'vegottalent!squeee!")

Well, friends - it's decided. I'm going to pursue graphic design. Even as I type those words, I'm excited. Pinch me. Seriously, I have secretly wanted to be able to say that for a long time...but I've always felt like it's such a far stretch from my degrees and my past jobs that people would think it's ridiculous.

I've also worried that perhaps it's not altruistic enough to make me happy - I'm not contributing to the community in the same way teaching does. But you know what? A happy Ashley contributes a whole lot more positive energy to the world than a burnt out, grumpy Ashley.

I'm on cloud nine with excitement, I'm more sure of this than I've ever been of any career path, and I'm going to start figuring out how to make! this! happen! Any advice?


  1. Good for you for figuring out what you want! That's such an exciting moment, wishing you all the best as you keep going forward with this!!

  2. Ashley, this is so cool. I've been doing a lot of thinking about this topic myself lately, so your example is something of an inspiration. I know it will be challenging at times, but you definitely have a ton of talent and desire to do great things with it. Good luck!!

  3. that is soooo awesome... O am so happy for you! I wish you the best of luck in everything that you do!

  4. I'm so proud of you for going for it. Seriously. Way to rock out something I KNOW you can succeed in AND enjoy. YAY for you, m'dear!

  5. That is so awesome for you!!! I know how it feels to finally feel like you've figured out at least one aspect of life, so yay! And I really like that Drama Club flier by the way ;)

  6. That's awesome good for you! Just remember that you might run into obstacles, but keep your head up and remember everything will work out for the best.

  7. yay! for you!!! your art at the top is sooo fun, love the colors.

    pursue your dreams!!!

  8. I am so excited for you! I know how great it feels to pursue something you really love and are good at. I hope you have so much fun. Yay!!

  9. awe, ashley.. i'm so happy for you.
    isn't it such a great feeling to have SOME sort of direction of where you want to go?
    i know when i figured out i wanted to go into broadcast journalism, i didn't stop beaming for.. well, i still haven't stopped beaming. it's great =)

    good luck sweetheart, i'm sure you'll be FANTASTIC!!

  10. I totally agree, being happy contributes waaaayy more to the world! Good for yoU!

  11. Advice: answer my phone calls.

    You asked. You received. :)

  12. Good for you! You are very lucky to have figured it out so early on in life! i can't wait to hear more about your journey :)

  13. Yay Ashley!!! I'm so excited for you! Finding out what you want to do in life is big news indeed! I love that you ranked your job possibilities in Excel -- so logical! And that is so cool that your teacher recognized that you have major potential and talent in this area! Always nice to hear kudos like that -- especially from someone in the industry! Can't wait to hear more about your graphic design journey! I think you'll love expressing yourself creatively at your job on an every day basis! And you make a good point - happy Ashley is very important for society! Congrats!!!

  14. Congratulations on figuring it out. I think I know what I want, but its mostly just a guess.

  15. That is great news. I'm glad you're happy and have found something you enjoy and will help you to feel good about your work. Congrats. I can't wait to hear more about this.

  16. That's very cool! And don't worry about the contribution to the world at large just yet--I think it's like you said: once you're doing something you enjoy for work, you'll be up for doing good things outside of the office as well. And don't rule out the possibility that you could have a job that is contributing. You never know what will turn up. :)

    More advice from someone who is in the middle of a complete career change (duh, you follow my blog): just keep going forward. Pray. Let people help and support you. Seek out mentors. And trust yourself even when it gets difficult. :)

  17. Good for you! Graphic design is SO much fun, and there is ALWAYS a need for designers. I cannot wait to hear all about this new path.

  18. Wow, how exciting! (I'm so jealous, by the way, but this isn't about me, it's about you. Heehee.)

    I always think it's amazing how it's those random things that sort of come out of nowhere that end up being the most important. Who would've thought this class would inspire you so much? And apparently you're one of those people who are just natural designers. That's the best, because you can't learn an artistic talent - it's something you just need to HAVE, most of the time!

    It must feel so good to have a direction. I'm so happy for you. :) I can't wait to see where you end up going with this!

  19. Good for you!

    I used to be the editor-in-chief for my High School yearbook...I loved doing that stuff!

  20. this is excellent news!!! i have so many questions for you!

    where are you going to study? does this mean you are leaving cleveland? : (

    im so happy for you though!

  21. I just want to say that's brilliant. And good luck with everything. I am still waiting for my own strike of inspiration, but knowing what you want is half the battle. You'll do great.

  22. you my friend, are a very lucky lady :D congratulations and by the looks of your amazing projects, you will excel!

  23. I think graphic design seems like the perfect fit :) You have so much to offer the industry and I have a feeling you will be a smashing success!

  24. Yay for figuring out what you want to do and pursuing it! I totally admire graphic designers and what they can do. I'm always amazed by what they come up with.

    Keep posting up your work, would love to see it!

  25. yay ash!!! i'm so happy you're going after what you want. good luck love! xoxo

  26. You officially are Pam Beasley. Much Luck! You will be awesome at this!!!

  27. I'm so happy for you.

    And envious.

    Because I do this type of questioning so often- especially lately.

  28. This is great! I'm so happy you have found your calling :)

  29. Yay! I am so so so happy for you! Can't wait to join you as you begin this new journey! Keep up the good work and fabulous blogging!

  30. That is SO exciting and SO awesome!!! I can't wait to hear more about your adventures in graphic design, I dont know much about anything but I'd have to agree with your teacher, you got skillz girl!!!! Everything looks so fantastic!


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