April 21, 2008

Framing Issues

It's going to be a long couple weeks between now and the end of term, so I apologize in advance as I imagine my posts won't be particularly substantive provided they don't fall off entirely.

Today, I realized that I have a major framing issue, I have a lot of trouble putting things in the proper perspective right now. I got a single bad grade on one assignment and it crushed me. I could blame it on lack of sleep or pure exhaustion from 6 weeks of near constant work, and while those are no doubt true to varying extents they probably aren't the most important piece. Without getting into the deeper issue, which is probably a bit more complicated than even I understand, I care too much about grades. I know this about myself. It has pushed me too excel and it has pushed my to exceed many expectations, most notably my own, however here at the Guildhall, the effect is far less positive. It pushes me too far, beyond what is normal, beyond what is healthy, and beyond what I can really stand.

At the same time, I don't really know how to back away from that precipice. I've always felt that if I "did my best" I would succeed. Get the job, the grade, the girl...whatever, and that's simply not always the case. I mean I realize as I write this that it means I've led a pretty charmed life to realize this so late, which isn't to say I haven't had my fair share of job, grade, and girl troubles. I guess the truth I'm supposed to be realizing is that "doing your best" is the success, and everything else will be what it will be. I know it's a little after school special, but bear with me as I'm still working this out, and I think there's a valuable point in there somewhere.

In truth, there's very little in life you can control, and ultimately very little you can really hold yourself accountable for. If you can look at yourself and your work, and say, "I'm proud of that, I did the best I could, and that's all I can do" then that's really all you can ask for. Everyone has to realize their limitations eventually, and I was aware of many of my own, mostly in the fields of physical strength and manual dexterity. The Guildhall is the first place that has tested the limits of my mind and my spirit. My passion and dedication to this work has consistently been tested as expectations have steadily risen and time available has steadily declined, and I have continually risen to the occasion despite the detriments to my health and well-being.

That is probably the lesson that I most need to learn. To put first things first, to realize what's important and the frame my view of the world correctly. The struggle right now is to actually believe it, and even more, live it. I know I am a good designer, I know it for myself, and I have all the positive feedback in the world to back it up. I know I am meant to do this, I feel it with every fiber of my being: though this path is difficult it is the right one if it gets me to where I belong. I don't know why I seem to keep falling into the trap of needing someone else to tell me these things I already know. If, in the end, the Guildhall manages to teach me that much, it will have been worth it. I'm not sure what I've been waiting for these last couple days (pity? escape? a miracle?), but it's time for me to get past that, move on, and do my best with what I have. So here I go...


  1. Right on brother man, by the end of this post I was ready to storm the beaches (and I hope you were too).

    Was it over when the Germans bombed pearl harbor? Hell no!

    Knock 'em dead, Tom.

  2. I'm not sure your clever irony translates well in text. I think some of the readers might just think your stupid ;). Just kidding. Thanks for the vote of confidence!