"Education should be the process of helping everyone to discover their uniqueness, to teach them how to develop that uniqueness, and then to show them how to share it because that's the only reason for having anything." —Dr. Leo Buscaglia
I'm fortunate to be in a position today where I get to play a small role in shaping the hearts, hands and minds of many talented young creatives. But from this privileged position, I sometimes worry about what I see. I worry that many of these emerging leaders are trading their creative curiosities for the promise of a job certainty that doesn't even exist. I worry that the designers of tomorrow have lost their desire to look backward as a way of moving forward. (My how few students know their design history!) I worry that our perception of "good design" is becoming nothing more than what's popular on Pinterest. (Eek!) Most of all, I'm worried about the health and wellness of the talented young folks trying to make their way through rigorous design programs where professors lionize competition, confuse critique with coercion and glorify exertion to an extreme degree. (I know an architecture "teacher" who brings a golf club to class on model critique day).
It's with all this in mind, that I write this note to my dear design professors in Detroit. Sue. Liisa. Chad. Doug. Matt. Michelle. Nelson. And there are others. Thank you. Thank you for teaching me how to see. Thank you for sharpening my senses, heightening my awareness and training me to ask "why?". Thank you for gently molding my critical mind. Thank you for teaching me that the role of the designer is foremost to solve problems and create beauty, though not always in that order.
When the career counselors said "get a job," you invited me to learn about the world from a worm's perspective. When the career counselors said "raise your GPA," you invited me to read books that interested me. When the career counselors said "four years left," you reminded me that school is only the beginning. So thank you. Thank you for showing me how to get lost in the library stacks. Thank you for teaching me how to draw inspiration from the sidewalk. Thank you for reminding me that the computer is simply a tool. Thank you for prompting me to dream bigger and for suggesting that my aspirations should stretch far beyond graduation or my first promotion. Thank you for being supportive influencers at the beginning of my journey.