2012 has been a year full of life lessons, some more obvious than others. Since graduating back in May, I've learned a lot of things that I wished I had learned years ago. But some of these things are things I learned years ago, but never listened.
Here's a list of the things I learned (in no particular order):
Invest in good clothes – How many times have you spent $20 on something from H&M or Forever 21 and you've maybe only worn/washed it like two times before it started falling apart? Or maybe you just wore it once and you were over it and you realize you never really needed it in the first place. Or (if you're like me) some of that stuff is still sitting in your closet with the tags still on. There's a reason why it's called "fast fashion"…it's not meant to last. That's essentially 90% of my wardrobe from my college years. And most of that stuff has been donated or sold on eBay. It's ok to spend $300 on a good quality (in my case, Hetterson) sweater if you plan on wearing it to death. There's no point in treating expensive clothes like they're precious because then they will never be worth what you spent on them. Good clothes are meant to be worn over and over again. If it's made well from high quality materials, then it should last you for years to come and over time it will be worth all the money you spent on it.
It's OK to change your mind – What you want to do at 26 might not be the same thing you wanted to do at 21…and that's OK! Sometimes what you want to do at 26 happens to be the same thing you've always wanted to do at 17…and that's OK too! Invest time in the things you want to do instead of trying to force yourself to do something you feel obligated to because you feel like you've already invested a lot of time in it. You grow up and life is constantly changing. It's OK for your mind to change with it.
Don't do the kind of work you don't want to get hired to do – This is an obvious one, but it's very easy to be tempted by money and do work you really hate for it. And at the end of it all, you'll have some money to pay the bills for the month but absolutely nothing for your portfolio. People hire you based on the kind of work they see in your portfolio. So if you don't want to do a certain kind of work for a living, don't have it in your portfolio.
Say "No." to clients more often – When you're hired by a client to be the graphic designer on a project, it's not an open invitation for them to ask you to figure out their entire business for them. If they can't tell you in their own words what their business is about, it's a red flag to walk away from the project.
Be Yourself – Totally cliché, but true. You're not doing yourself any favors by trying to be someone you're not. And being yourself is more fun anyways…trying to be someone else is way too stressful.
Support the people who support you – It's a great way to say thank you to the people who gave you a chance when no one else would. And it's a great way to build close-knit communities.
Bake more often – It's fun & delicious!