Advice to my college self

Being two years out of school, it’s only appropriate to think of ways I could share my sage wisdom with a younger me. Throughout college, life was changing quickly, drastically, and it seemed like I was doing everything I could to stay on top of it. Given the chance to go back and do it again, dominating it doesn’t describe how well I think I’d do. Listen up college Jake, these points have applications to both your personal life and your success as a budding designer because they’re intertwined at every turn.

Get off your ass.

It’s easy to put things off with Netflix calling your name but try a little less time in front of the TV and more in the studio. Some say that great work comes out of desperation and while that can be true, it doesn’t apply when in the early years of honing your skills. Great work comes out of trial and error which simply cannot happen when starting a project two nights before the due date. Accept the failure along the way because it’s not the worst thing by a long shot. (Spilt wine is way worse.)

Actually get off your ass. Ride the bike more. Go for a run. Be proud of yourself for going to the gym instead intimidated. A lot of creative blocks have been overcome around mile 3.

Stay focused on who you are.

We’ve fought hard to get where we are. The first few years of college were not easy but you staked your claim so never lose sight of it. It formed the foundation of a person I couldn’t be happier to identify as. I’d describe us in three ways: curious, loyal, and refusing to accept things easily. Ask questions and if you ever worry about being a nuisance, just think “stay informed to stay on top.” It holds true and shows no sign of failing.

While it’s nice to emulate another designer’s styles and be envious of the people on Behance, embrace your own quirks. Make things that you like because everything we do has a level of taste involved. The taste will never go away so work towards creating things that live up to expectations you set.


Explore the world. Explore your likes and dislikes. Immerse yourself in uncomfortable situations so you have no choice but to grow. Will it be scary, yes. Will you end up still disliking things, more than you’d think. Are surprises in store, without a doubt. Remember skydiving? Case in point.

Use the Letter Society as one of your greatest resources. In retrospect, it has led to exponential growth even if the project quality doesn’t show it all the time. At times it might seem like you’re competing with the other members but we aren’t. Everyone wants to grow so let them help you explore what it means to be a creative person and in turn, you’ll help them explore their limits as well.

The future is bright and I’d hate to spoil what it has in store. Know that it’s exciting and that everything will change when you least expect it.


Off-topic points:
I haven’t learned to like sushi yet.
Ramen is great, seaweed not so much.
You’re incredibly white. Like super white.