Why I’m struggling to become a self-taught UX designer

I started this summer feeling completely lost, which is not a new feeling to me. To be honest, I’ve felt lost for most of my life. Not because I couldn’t find my interests but because I had too many of them. To give you some perspective, I picked up five new hobbies this summer: piano, guitar, songwriting, skateboarding, and Spanish. It’s exciting to try new things, but I was mostly worried about being all over the place. It seemed like most of my peers already had years of experience and knowledge in one thing they cared about. They were doing prestigious internships and building companies. I, on the other hand, decided to start a kombucha business on Monday and seriously considered moving to the woods on Wednesday. I had so many ideas but could not act on them. I was scared of being locked into one thing, which sounded inevitable if I really wanted to be good at something. In a nutshell, I was stuck in this vicious cycle of wanting to do many things but not doing anything because I wanted to do many things.

Photo by Sage Friedman on Unsplash

However, things started to change when I came across a random video on Youtube. “A day in the life of a UX designer” was the title. I was intrigued and clicked on the video. The designer showed her research, design process, team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and many other things UX designers do. I was surprised how it combined a wide range of skills that I’m interested in. I loved how I could see the impact of the design in a relatively short amount of time. I was so excited that I could feel my heart racing. Then, I was scared. I was worried it was too late since I was a senior in college. I was worried about failing and not being good enough. I was scared of committing to something and not being able to pursue my other passions. They were the familiar fears I have always given into in the past, but this time they created a new type of fear that motivated me to push through: a fear of being afraid forever.

I decided to commit myself no matter what. Enough was enough. I read articles and watched videos about becoming a UX designer. As a college student, I didn’t have the time and money to spend on bootcamps, so I decided to learn on my own and complete Google UX Design Professional Certificate on Coursera for its flexible schedule and financial aid. It consists of 7 courses that you can complete within six months. There I was, ready to start this journey, overcoming my fear almost for the first time.

Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

It’s been two months since that day.

In the first month, I was so excited and motivated to learn. I interviewed product designers in my network and stayed up late to juggle the course with my other commitments. I completed one out of seven courses. Yeaay! I learned a lot about the different roles of UX designers and how design can make positive changes in the world. I was proud of myself.

However, the motivation was slowly fading away over time. That’s where I am today. I feel overwhelmed to start building my portfolio. The fear has crept into my head again. I know there is no way around it, so I wanted to acknowledge my struggles and feelings, and that’s why I’m writing. I want to remind myself that it’s okay to face challenges and be afraid. I can do it if I want to, and I will do it because I want to. The journey is never easy.
Here is my little promise to you. When I publish my next article in November, I will be done with two more courses from the Google UX Design Professional Certificate and one design project for my portfolio.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I probably overshared in this article, but I believe that vulnerability is a strength rather than a weakness. I also believe that sharing moments of struggles can make this journey less lonely for me and someone going through a similar experience.

Message me on LinkedIn if you want to share your experience or advice with me!

I’m an aspiring UX designer. I discovered my passion for design very recently. I’m currently trying to learn as much as I can as fast as I can!