Originally on Medium
I don’t really know where to start, but let’s try this…
I’ve been amazed by computers my whole life, ever since my dad brought home that IBM XT from his office, yet somehow I didn’t realize until I was 13/14 that I definitely wanted to work with computers later in life. In my adolescent years, I also found out that there are so many different areas that you can work with computers (I guess I’m a late bloomer), there’s hardware, software, design, development, engineering, data analysis, and an almost endless etcetera. Nevertheless, while I was exploring all these intriguing areas I stumbled upon one that seemed to be the one. Yup, that’s right, you guessed, it was programming. A bit of Visual Basic, all on my own, with basically zero knowledge, amazed by the results I thought that this may be what I wanted to do with my life. Fast forwarding, because I don’t want this to be a large self-centered post (yes, I have a point, I promise!), I started reading, and researching on what path career I could go down once high school finished. I met my boyfriend, who at the time was studying software engineering, and he explained and helped me out so I would know what I was about to choose. All of my friends looked at me in a weird way as soon as I started talking about it, and explaining the program study, but they gave me incredibly helpful feedback. To be honest, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for all of the support my boyfriend and my friends provided me with.
I started college, all hyped up and super excited. That didn’t last long. 4 months after being there I knew that it definitely wasn’t what I expected. I don’t really know what happened, maybe it was the engineering-related subjects (duh, if you chose Information Systems ENGINEERING expect to be some, uhm, I don’t know, engineering?), but it definitely wasn’t the place I wanted to be. From here things weren’t exactly clear for me. I was living in an apartment with my boyfriend, my parents paid my part of the rent for me, I didn’t know what to study, and had no job at all. I talked to my boyfriend, A LOT, about my aspirations in life and what made me happy. He and Paul, a friend of ours, suggested that maybe I didn’t like coding as much as I thought I did, and they could’ve had a point, but this wasn’t the case. I loved coding, I loved typing all of these set of instructions and checking out the results later. It was such a satisfaction for me to realize this because at least I knew something. After thinking for a couple of days I decided I would do some amateur web design and HTML/CSS “development” in the meantime so I could help my parents with the expenses; and after all, I loved fiddling with HTML/CSS, web standards and related stuff, also at this point I was pretty comfortable when working with GIMP/Photoshop.
I went back and forth with different possibilities on what to study next (to give you some perspective, I even took acting lessons, since acting is another of the things I love to do. Yeah, I had a wide range of possibilities). One day, after finishing a project for a client it just clicked. This was what I wanted to do for a living, it was the perfect mix of art and coding. I don’t know how I didn’t see it before. I knew it was it because this was the first though I had of that kind in a long time, the first time I said to myself “OK, let’s do it then” since I dropped out of college. Alexis, my boyfriend, said that it was an incredible decision, and that he supported me as long as I did it because I wanted to and not just because I had to choose something (talking about being surrounded by amazing people!). Finally I had something in mind, a goal.
I enrolled in a distance education institute for courses like graphic design, and web development. Best decision ever, as it allowed me to keep on working from home, and managing my time to study and read all of the material needed. I wouldn’t have imagined myself studying, working, and educating myself on what front-end development mattered just a month after making THE decision.
Several months later I saw myself in a horrible situation. My boyfriend passed away, he was hit by a motorcycle when entering the building we used to live in. I was devastated and unable to do anything for a long time (I didn’t have the person I love the most, and was completely lost). My parents saw this and decided that maybe it was better for me to go back and live with them in the small town I was born in, at least for some time. I agreed, went back to their place and stopped both studying and working since it was really hard for me to do anything after Alexis’ passing.
As soon as I was a little bit “better” and able to do some stuff, I knew I had to do something with myself and the situation I was in. Work was the thing that distracted me and kept me going on, and because of this, I told Paola (my best friend, and co-founder of what now is Smooth Cursor, the design agency we’re working on) that we needed to give SC more publicity, she listened and suggested many other strategies to put ourselves out there and reach more possible clients. So there I was, working again, and to me that was almost therapeutic. After a couple of weeks I took the courses where I had left, and kept on forming myself.
Once I was up and running, I got the opportunity to start working on two different amazing large agencies at Buenos Aires, ~500 kilometers away from where I am currently living. I went to a couple of interviews, and at a point, while I was in a Burger King eating lunch, something crossed my mind. “I don’t really want to do this, I’m not ready and I don’t want to”. So that was it, I chickened out big time, again. A lot of people say I gave away an opportunity to grow and learn (and they may be correct), but I don’t see it that way.
Right now I keep on freelancing, trying to make Smooth Cursor grow (with Paola helping by my side), have a “semi-permanent” job, and I’m about to get my second certificate in graphic design (the first being in web development). I read, learn, educate myself, communicate, and work; just as any other human being should be able to.
The point to this Wall of Text is to tell you a few stuff I learned:
- — Do what makes you happy, do whatever suits and/or helps you, Alexis taught me this, he carved it into my brain and I’m SO happy he did because it is the most valuable thing anyone ever said to me. Sometimes taking higher education isn’t even needed if you’re good at teaching yourself what you like but keep in mind this isn’t for everybody, every person is unique.
- — Generally, moving to a different city to do what you like isn’t mandatory, but if you’d like to know other places and travel, you should do it, it definitely isn’t a waste of time. You live, you learn, you get unforgettable memories, and at the end of the day you get this weird feeling of everything being super calm
- — No, life isn’t sparkles and sunshine, it’s actually a real bitch most of the time, but at least you can do something that satisfies you and keeps you going
- — Surround yourself with amazing people, those who enjoy your company, those you can learn and get inspired from, they’ll be the ones pushing you to the next level and making you create amazing stuff