As per usual, September kicked off with a back to school rush and without a snap, September was over. Although truthfully, planning for the semester kicked of during the beginning of August. The last sweet month of summer was overshadowed by meetings over the plans for the semester ahead. Now that this is my final year of my bachelor’s degree, I volunteered to be the secretary of the production management club in my college. Never had I put myself in this type of role before, with these new responsibilities and especially collaborating with a team. I initially was excited but fearful, my fear kicked in whenever I would start thinking that I might do something wrong that comes back tenfold. This fear has always haunted me, which I often have to tell myself to pause and rethink it before it happens. It’s a strange feeling going from two extremes like being absolutely positive about a certain choice or decision and then doubtful about it all. But thankfully, the responsibilities are spread around, just in case we need to pick up after one another. However, even with my doubts, I’m still tempted to take on more and more responsibilities for the sake of getting more experience as a leader. But I need to remind myself that realistically, I can’t do it all without losing something else equally or more important.
One particular activity that was introduced to us early on, was a collaboration with an industry meetup group. The collaboration included the club’s execs teaming up other clubs to oversee the production of a full garment designed by the students and then manufactured by an assigned business. The students would then document and present our observations in an event hosted by the meetup group. The collaboration was fascinating to me and I couldn’t wait to get inside an actual factory, but the details of the project were more exciting than what it turned out to be, at least for me. I was assigned to a manufacturer that considered themselves a start-up and I had no clue as to how we would communicate.
We made it through and luckily for me, I got what I wanted to experience, which was to initiate something on my own without having someone guide me along the way or telling me what I needed to figure out. I was mindful to stay on track with what needed to be completed, I was mindful about keeping meeting and dates planned out and I kept telling myself that the main objective of this project was “pr” for both of the members of the teams. It was a bit annoying because, metaphorically speaking, I was moving left, while the founder of the business I was assigned to was going right and I’m not referencing political agendas here. I later realized that the cofounder was building her startup using all of her skills regardless of any “real” in depth knowledge of what was introduced in schools or industry. We used that lack of knowledge to our advantage to introduce and speak about her business. She kept reminding me that people, overall, want to hear the story behind the cause most of the time and micro details come later.
A new mantra I’ve adopted says “it doesn’t matter how much you know, but rather how much you care”. I heard this earlier this year, but it had not been proven true to me until the middle of my most recent school semester. The spring semester was one of the toughest, most stressful, and agonizing school terms as of yet. I took more classes than any other semester, some online and in-class, all while my daughter was entering the “terrible two’s.”
In a few of my classes, I was required to work with partners and for one class in particular, I decided to partner with a student, who I believed was a top student. He had the best grades in class, understood the material and could practically re-teach the whole lecture.
We partnered up for three projects and before we started, he stated how much he did not care about the work we were about to do. He wasn’t interested and who could blame him, but for me, it was different. I did care and was genuinely interested in what we were working on. I didn’t just care about getting a good grade, but was curious about the process and getting a “preview” of something I might be asked to do some day during my career, possibly. Plus, I was taking away valuable time from my family to finish these assignments, no matter how mediocre, I needed a return in my investment and my time. I was going to use the assignment as a trial to build my confidence in myself and learn more about my capabilities. It was a difference of opinions and as long as the work was completed, that’s all we focused on.
We worked well, for the most part but not without some hick ups, naturally. He seemed to have a tough time staying focused since other students would ask for his help and other personal problems. Most of the assignments were rushed to get finished on the last day, but luckily, we both worked fast and efficiently. Once all the work was handed in, we agreed that we had challenged one another in ways we didn’t expect. We had different capabilities and I got to know which areas I was weaker in. Working with someone who approached the problem differently was an interesting learning experience. I was able to see a different side of myself that otherwise might not have been noticed. Through this partnership, I learned that staying humble and patient is the best remedy to staying motivated enough to finish the work together.
This was it, the sum of all my classes and lessons of the fashion design associates degree program. From draping classes, to pattern making and figure drawing sessions with nude models. By the time I got to this stage in the program, I was wiped out and had mentally checked out from designing. I was more eager to finish, rather than embracing and learning from the challenging process. I had no vision as to how I was going to turn my whole experience into a career and questioned if I wanted to pursue this for the rest of my life.
But this summer, I decided to take up the challenge to redo my fashion design portfolio. Deep down, I have a desire to figure out a way to turn my skills into a career. I took the summer to reflect on all the lessons that I had learned while in the degree program and started to develop a more positive perspective compared to when I was still in it. School is just one of those experiences where I don’t know how good it is until it’s gone.
Over the summer, I jumped into the process of designing again and this time I followed my own instincts as to what feels right. I’ve changed my idea behind my portfolio by actually thinking of a customer, a women who would be drawn to my looks. I’ve changed the layout of how it’s presented by emphasizing the small details compared to the previous layout. Nothing was left by accident, everything is purposeful because one day soon I’m going to have to explain my thought process of what I’m displaying. The last thing I want to feel is embarrassed for what I am showing.
I’m still spending time making changes and adding more details to every look. I’m not half way done yet but when it is, the sense of accomplishment will make my guilt go away… hopefully lol