One Drawing Sunday- Old charcoal drawing

©Mia Salminen 2009

I didn’t have time to draw today so here is an old drawing I made when I studied graphic design the first time in 2009. This drawing is made with charcoal and then scanned.

My own student story

The school I’ve studied graphic design at, Helsinki Design School has this feature called ‘Student Stories’ It’s about students who have studied there and what they’ve done after the education. All of them have these great successes. Mine is limp compared to those. I wouldn’t say my educations have given me anything special. They haven’t given me the ‘Wow’ effect. I went to those schools and that’s about it. When I read these great stories, I would say, well lucky you. Because that’s what it takes, luck. Maybe a little talent too. When I went to this school, the other students were really good. Even those who hadn’t studied graphic design before. I actually felt untalented compared to them. It seems things only happen to other people. But never mind about others. This is my student story. My limp student story.

My first education was in 1994-1995. Right after I left primary school. I was 17 and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. My mother said I should start something so I went to study health care. It took a year. It was the first time I was on my own. I went home for the weekend though. I lived in a dorm with a roommate. We went to the same class. There was job learning as well so I went to a retirement home. I was there for one day only. I didn’t like being there at all. I never liked touching people. One thing I learned though was how to make the bed so the bed sheets sat in place. I still tie my bedsheets like that. That’s actually the only thing I still remember from the education. The rest are long forgotten.

My next full education was between 2002- 2003. Before that, I was at a business school in 1997 but that was one of the worst school experiences I’ve had. I was there only about 2 months or so. My first two educations were in Swedish. After that, it’s been in Finnish only. So in 2002, I studied media screenwriting. It included writing movie scripts, radio scripts, video editing etc. At the time I thought about becoming a scriptwriter. I really liked this education. We were a small group and we all got along. It was also fun to make movie scenes from scripts we wrote. I learned a lot about making movies and radio plays. I understand the concept of dramaturgy and how to make a story work. I look at movies in a different way than someone who hasn’t studied it. I still use that knowledge when I write fiction. I also understand how difficult it is to make movies. I really love watching how a movie is made on the extras on the DVD’s I buy. I’ve also used my editing skills on my own video projects. I probably got my current job because I can film and edit videos. At least my boss was really excited about it when I told her about it in the job interview.

Next school was in 2005-2006 I studied in the same school where I studied screenplay writing. This time it was journalism. I wanted to work as a journalist. It was also a year. I didn’t like my schoolmates that much. They reminded me of those in business school which was the reason why quit that one. At least I lasted a year. I learned I don’t like interviewing people. I just can’t listen and write at the same time. In the end, it was the teacher I interviewed who corrected the interview later on. I just missed a lot of the interview. We had a school newspaper where we put different stories in. I probably still have it somewhere. In the education, we had photo editing where we used Photoshop and also it was the first time I used InDesign. I already knew something about Photoshop so that wasn’t new to me. What I remember the most about what I learned in the school it was that one. The program has changed a lot since then but the basics are the same.

After some years thinking about what I really wanted to be, it was 2009. I was really into becoming a photographer again. I’ve studied it in 2001 but I quit for different reasons. One of them was developing film which I didn’t get. Too much Math. I got back to photography because now digital cameras were getting more common. I just didn’t want to study it for years. At the time I had a job search coach so we searched online about different educations. Then she came across an education but it wasn’t only photography and it would take two years. I thought that sounded too long so I declined at first. The main education was graphic design but it also had some photography. After thinking about it a bit longer, I decided to apply for the education. Before that, I was a week in the school to try how it was to study there. I found it interesting so I took a chance. Since I already was familiar with Photoshop and InDesign, it was easier to get into it. In the education, we also did a short movie so again my past learning came in handy. I got to know more about graphic design. We had e.g. poster design, logo design and editorial design (school magazine) I still wanted to become a photographer though.

Not until 2014 I found an education where photography was the main subject. This was the first time I went to Helsinki Design School. It suited me well because we met in school only twice a month. Even though the teachers were pro photographers, it didn’t mean things would positively happen to you. The education was new so things weren’t perfect. I’m sure they’ve got different now. I’ve heard students from the same year as me that this photography course was a joke to certain employers. Saying it’s not a real school and yadda yadda. Even though I didn’t get what I wanted for the future, it doesn’t mean the education isn’t real. When the teacher we had on our last (or second) asked how many of us would want to become I pro I didn’t raise my hand. It was nice to know how things work in the photography industry and so on. But I decided it wasn’t as interesting as I thought. I wanted to do something else too.

Waiting and doing other things. In 2016-2017 I found another education that I found interesting. It found it while I was one of my many job search courses. It was a one-year education about web design. I don’t really know where that idea came. Maybe because I had one in the 90s when we first got the internet at home. It was so simple then because no coding was needed. The education also had photography but I didn’t have to attend the classes. I still went because you never know what you’ll learn. We photographed different things so it was fun to be there. The main thing was web design. There is where I learned to code. It was difficult though. It’s like Math, confusing. I still can’t do it so maybe that’s one of the reasons I don’t think I can do websites after all. I don’t like the technical stuff. After the education, you would think you’ll get a job somewhere but then it hits you there isn’t anything suitable. They’re all web developers. It feels like you’re been lied to. Web design isn’t the same as you studied. So I’m actually a bit disappointed the working world doesn’t want to offer you anything you studied. The education itself wasn’t disappointing, it’s what happens after it. At least I understand what some code means. At least I got some experience with working with clients. I actually started to think about entrepreneurship because it was so nice not having the need to go anywhere. I even went to a course about it.

Last but not least. The latest education I’ve had so far. I can’t believe it’s soon a year when that ended. It was graphic design in Helsinki Design School. I didn’t want to be in an education where they repeat things you’ve studied before. 2018-2019 it was. I began to think about graphic design again. I applied once before at the beginning of the year (the application period is twice a year) but I didn’t get in but then I tried the 2nd time. Since I went to this school before I thought the 2nd time lucky so to speak. We used Adobe programs so it was easier for me to follow the education. I also knew about other graphic design things from before but it didn’t feel like a repeat. Every teacher has different teaching methods so it’s nice to hear another approach on things. I thought about trying light entrepreneurship during the education but I never got around doing it. Time just went by and like always I never dare to start anything I plan. It’s easier to dream than making it true. So reading student stories about how someone has used their education in Helsinki Design School to good use, it just puts me down. They’re young and have time to do anything. I just feel old and lazy to do anything about my time. Maybe I just didn’t have what it takes when it comes to graphic design.

So there you have it. My that was my own student story. Limp or not, I think I’ve learned enough in school. Helsinki Design School is trying to sell its 2 year BA educations in graphic design. But I’ve already studied the same in 2009-2011 so I’m not their target market anyway. It’s more for those who don’t have any past educations in the same field. All I need right now is job experience and not another education.

Teach me until I’m impeccable

No one is impeccable and no one can teach you to be it. But you can be as impeccable as you can in your own mind. Humans are supposed to have faults. Even people who seem impeccable are not. You have to know them in person to know how they’re like. Some people think they’re above everyone and they’re the only ones who have the right to be on this planet. It’s useless to compete with people like that. You should use your energy to more useful things than trying to please other people. I’ve known people personally who thought they’re better but for real they’re were only showing their own faults. You don’t need people in your life that only wants to bring you down. It’s a cliché but life is short. There should not be toxic people in anyone’s life. What you don’t know you can learn.

There can be people who might not like what I write or they don’t agree. If it’s blogging or writing fiction. But you can’t please everyone. The same goes with other things. I wish someone could teach me drawing for example. I used to do it when I was a kid but then later not so much. I think I got some kind of resentment towards drawing when in 6th grade we had a group assignment where we would draw a character and it was totally ignored from my schoolmates. I’ve thought I couldn’t draw at all so I didn’t. Even when I studied graphic design in 2009-2011, I didn’t like it at all. My teacher said that I was afraid of drawing but in my opinion, it was because of what happened in the early years. It felt I would be judged for not knowing how to draw. But then when I studied graphic design again last year, the teacher we had said, anyone can draw and it’s about finding your own style (is ugly a style, I wonder). We also learned how to find inspiration and how to brainstorm ideas. I’m never gonna be impeccable in drawing and I’m not planning to become an illustrator but I wish I was more comfortable with it. You can only learn if you practice but it’s hard to when you don’t have the confidence to do it.

The only creative thing I have absolute confidence in is writing. It’s such a natural thing for me. I have no problems commentating online either. Someone is shy to interact on the internet so they don’t activate themselves that much. Sometimes you just wanna observe things. Some don’t have the urge to express their opinions online. For me, it’s easier to express myself by writing. Especially in English. It’s actually more natural for me than writing in my own language. Besides, certain words sound better in English than in Finnish, for example. Of course, since this blog is in English I write it in that language. Practise (practice) makes you impeccable. Or as impeccable as possible. I got an ‘A’ in English in school in my primary school leaving certificate and my English has improved so much after that. And I’m still learning. If I only would feel as confident in other things than I am in English.

Graphic design is something I would want to get better at. Maybe the most cynical would think, this person hasn’t done much graphic design so how can they call themselves a graphic designer. Or think I’m not good enough to be that and that I should do something else. Or I don’t if anyone would think that. It was just an example. I’m just too critical about myself. Design educations have taught me all I need to know so I don’t need to go to school again. I rather spend money on something else. In schools, they teach you the basics and I don’t need a repeat in that. There is also a lot of information online where you can self-study. There are schools where they offer Bachelor’s degrees in graphic design (also in Helsinki Design School) but why should I go. I already have degrees in graphic design. Maybe if you don’t have a talent you need to have a fancy degree. I know graphic designers who don’t have a bachelor’s degree but still have a career. In the end, it’s the job experience that counts and not what kind of degree you have. It’s not like graphic design is operating on humans. Creating something isn’t super science. The most difficult thing is to know what kind of design you want to master.

I would rather learn things good than become impeccable because if you’re already there, there is nothing new to learn. You can teach yourself things you’re interested in. It’s more fun that way.