“But I’m Like, Really Bad at Leaving My Comfort Zone”

Obviously, I haven’t logged on here in about three weeks because surprise, surprise, I have no time. However, tomorrow is my LAST day of class and I will be driving to Cape Cod the second I hand in my final assignment. Upon logging in, I was greeted with an old post that had been sitting in my “drafts” folder since July 5th.

Now, for those who haven’t read my blog before, July 5th was during my first week of grad school, which honestly, I was totally freaking out over. This article is titled “My comfort zone” and I’m happy I never finished it because holy yikes, I sound super whiney.

July 5th was the first day of my graphic design class and I almost cried after it. Seriously. At the time, I was freaking out for two reasons:

  1. I am horrendously uncreative
  2. I had just found out I would be learning about FIVE new softwares, HTML and CSS.

The article lamented how I much I loved my comfort zone, how it was OK to be comfortable in my comfort zone and then a nice, half-hearted attempt at being positive towards the end. While my feelings towards this class were certainly valid, the entire thing stank of self-pity.

Well, I just finished my final in graphic design. The final was to code my own website using HTML and CSS. And you know what? I got 112%. With that final grade, I’ll likely end out with over 100% in the class.

During my (admittedly, rough) 6 weeks of graphic design, I learned to be a completely different student. In high school and college, I only chose classes I knew I could do well in. I haven’t done an art class since maybe 10th grade. I never took risks. I never signed up for a class I wasn’t sure I could ace. I never left my comfort zone.

During this summer, however, I found myself being forced into thinking in a way that I was absolutely terrified of. When I got my first grade back (which was a trial and didn’t actually count for anything) I wasn’t shocked to see it would have earned me a C. I’m supposed to be bad, right? But instead of dropping the class like I would have liked to, I had to simply hang my head and admit that the way I was approaching the whole “art” thing was very, very wrong.

For the first time in my life, I had to embrace being awful at something.

Accepting that I was awful at graphic design changed the way I viewed the whole class. Instead of sitting there, wishing I could just be done, I spent time learning even the most basic principles of InDesign. I sat in the front of the classroom and asked stupid questions without shame about Photoshop and Dreamweaver. During open lab hours, I sat on the computer making absolutely hideous designs. Being terrible was MY THING and somehow, being shamelessly terrible gave me the confidence to improve.

As I sit here, just having finished my final, I’m so glad I allowed myself to be bad at something. In those 5 and a half weeks, I discovered that I can be motivated by more than just my previous successes. I’ve also learned that being BAD at something is the only way to become GOOD at it.

I can’t wait to leave my comfort zone again soon.

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