The Beginning

I wanted to start a blog to share my journey. It started when I wanted to add more to my personal web site, but couldn’t really find a place to add more. I wanted those who came across it to know more about me. To know me beyond my projects and the short introduction I had put about myself. I wanted to connect with people on a more personal level. I wanted to share personal experiences, the things I learned, and how new experiences have given me a new perspective on life. So here it is, my beginning.

A while ago, -before graduation to be exact- I started thinking about life after school. It was a little frightening because honestly, I haven’t known a life outside of it. I’ve been in school since I was three and let’s get real, “adulting” didn’t seem as fun anymore. Well, not as fun as when you played pretend in preschool. It was scary not thinking about going back to school because I had always felt that school guided me in a way that my parents couldn’t. Anyways, after university I really had to think about what I wanted to do and what kind of life I wanted to live. To be honest I was lost. It was like I was lost in a black hole, never able to find my way out. I felt like I learned so much in university, that coming out, I felt that I knew nothing. I didn’t know what I loved doing, clueless about what kind of work I wanted to do, and even worse, had no idea what I was truly passionate about. Thank goodness to my significant other and my closest friends who gave me the emotional support I needed in order to push my fears away and push me in the right direction. To all of you, I am truly grateful.

The journey out of this “black hole” started when my significant other linked me a Reddit post about having “non-zero days”.  It was an article where a man had shared his experience and how this “non-zero day” mentality had contributed to his success. The “tl;dr” of the post is that basically, do things every day that contributes to your growth and betters your life, even just by a little. I took this article to heart and wanted to try it out. So the first day, I thought about what I had wanted to do. Growing up in an Asian household, my parents were still stuck in the “old way” of thinking. That basically, if you don’t get a job out of university, you’re not that great, you’re not trying hard enough, you’re being lazy, and that happiness comes after the money. So, like my old self I thought, “I need to get a job so I can make them proud! Today i’ll apply for 5, no, 20 jobs! I can do it! Non-zero days here I come!”.  I started looking on LinkedIn, Indeed, and the UofC career link. I started looking at all the job descriptions, requirements, researching the company, you know, the works. That day, I only applied to 7 jobs. Needless to say, I was disappointed in myself. However, that day I also realized that I only wanted to apply for the sake of applying. My heart wasn’t really in it. Most of the time I found myself saying, “It’s fine, just get experience for a year, leave, whatever.”. I did this for a good month and after countless applications I only got two interviews. Those interviews were eye openers. I was so close to getting the jobs, but sadly was always beat out by countless years of experience, we’re talking about 5-8 years industry experience. My experience with coming so close was both a blessing and a curse.

Coming so close was a curse because I had come to the point where I had thrown in the towel and given up on applying to anymore jobs. At that point I thought, “Why bother, I’m not going to be good enough for them anyways. In this economy there’s always someone that’ll have that experience and that’s who’ll always get the job.”. However, blessings, by definition, are “God’s favors and protections”. Not getting the jobs but coming that close made me think, “Yes, alright my skills are still worth something! Still relevant.”. However, not getting the jobs forced me to take a step back and really look at the big picture. I realized that had I gotten those jobs, it wasn’t me that would be happy. It would be my parents. This didn’t change my decision to stop looking and applying for more jobs, but gave me a new direction.

My “new direction” involved learning. You’re probably thinking, “Wow, spend 5 years in university and you STILL need to learn? What were you doing?”. Floundering, that’s what I was doing. Anyways, I started looking back on all the courses I had taken in university and really thought about what aspects of those classes I enjoyed. I started re-learning and practicing SQL, PHP, HTML, and CSS because I really enjoyed my database management systems course. In a week though I dropped practicing SQL and PHP because I found I was more interested in the web development aspect so I added JavaScript and JQuery to my “to learn and practice” list. Eventually, my learning had lead me to UI/UX Design. I read countless blog posts about the topic and really found myself immersed in the material. I enjoyed reading “The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman and really enjoyed creating UI for the “Daily UI Challenge”. One day while I was creating UI and creating personas, I stopped. I stopped to think and realized that as I was doing this work, I was happy. For the first time in a very long time, and I mean a long long time, we’re talking about since high school here. I was happy doing this work.

Today, I aspire to be a UI/UX Designer. To me there are a lot of aspects about it that really resonate with me such as being given the ability to give users a good experience. As someone who’s worked in customer service for a long time, when someone tells you that they’ve had a rough day but with your service you managed to help them feel better and happier,  you can’t help but also feel happy. I also value creativity and as a UI/UX Designer you’re given this opportunity to be creative, think outside of the norm and make connections in different ways. Another is the the opportunity to connect with people. As a UX Designer connecting with people and being given insight to how they think and how they do things is exciting and eye opening. Almost like you’re walking into a world that you’ve never known. It only took a year, but I know this is where I want to be and this is what I want to be doing. I want to continue growing in this field, so I’m working on networking and learning from others. To those who are reading, I hope you look forward to more of my blog posts, connect with me, and get to know me. For this is only the beginning.

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