Several years ago, I made the mistake of snoozing my alarm clock one too many times. I was running late for my 8:00am Typography II class. I didn’t know it yet, but it was the last time I’d ever be late to a class. I was in a rut. I was rude and callused in my critiques. I pretended to fit into the classes, and I thought I was a fraud. I would join the chorus of students who groaned at the idea of doing more than 100 thumbnails of sketches. I was quietly becoming one of the pessimists and didn’t even know it.
I ultimately landed a ‘D’ in the Type course and was told that if was to remain in the program, I was to re-take Typography II next year. With no promise of even making the senior cut of the highly competitive Communication Design program at the University of North Texas (and bills mounting), I decided to say to hell with it and left the program. A world of sorrow and pessimism left me, I shed my sophist skin and bootstrapped my life back together.
I began pursuing my other interests in life. I began reading more about science and film, and began entrepreneurial pursuits and even began freelancing design and illustration work in my free-time. All in all it was a great change. I decided to finish college in a less-rigid program in the visual arts, and began to focus on computer sciences. Ultimately, I got extremely interested in web development and built a few websites.
Looking back, I’m a happier person and better for choosing my own adventure. I tend to recall that year of my life as the best, worst thing that ever happened to me. I owe so much to my friends, mentors and co-workers who believed in my ideas, work and words. Even in the face of such an embarrassing failure, all was well. I don’t have to tell you twice about how much failures suck. But they happen. The next time you mess up, consider finding the silver-lining before you tear yourself apart.
I was inspired to share my story after I read Linda Eliasen’s post on why she quit her job at Dropbox. Our time is limited. Don’t waste it living someone else’s life.