Why Design

Growing up I always angered my dear mother by sketching on the apartment white walls, failing to calculate math in my head, and being extremely introverted. I was terrified of raising my hand in class and speaking to customer service centers on the phone. I spent my childhood days alone at home obsessing over watercolor, construction paper, and color pencils. As I went through the education system and started learning about social norms I realized public speaking was important and art doesn’t make you money. My tiger mom always supported me through every crazy idea I wanted to experiment but the only thing she wanted me to be realistic towards was a career path that included typical “normal” jobs such as a lawyer, doctor or business person. As a first generation American born Chinese, growing up in America was harder than most can imagine. It wasn’t easy understanding what it means to be first generation at 12 years old, nor was it any easier understanding what Asian American in America meant. However, one thing I did know was that I will never do anything that I don’t want to do, and I will never purse anything I do not love. Thus, I built all the courage I had inside of me and happily told my mom I wanted to be a fashion designer and I’m going to be a really poor. This announcement didn’t anger my dear mother but she told me to think really hard about it and consider other options. I then attended a business focused high school and majored in marketing which I really really enjoyed. I loved the psychology part of marketing, the innovation within entrepreneurship, which lead me to believe that I wasn’t passionate about art, because it was always a side hobby along with all my other random interests such as music, dance, or sports. As the college application process approached, I naturally applied to business programs. I pursed a dual major in business and technology at Syracuse but everything spiraled downward fairly quickly. I interned at Capital One Bank my freshmen year summer, and then in the fall I worked weekly with Ernst & Young on a consulting case study (basically a semester long internship). I realized how unhappy I was when I broke down during a yoga session at the gym one night. My yoga instructor told me she has a CPA in Accounting and asked if I’ve talked to my mom. I replied “No, because I don’t think she would understand.” My mom called me that night and I tried to pretend I was ok but I couldn’t help but break down again when she asked me what’s wrong. I told her how unhappy and lost I was. She told me to follow my heart and she will support me every step of the way. Three years later I will still, and forever will, remember my dear tiger mother telling me those words and feeling forever grateful for them. I remember thinking about my identity, my culture, my hobbies, my personality, and asking myself “What do you love? Who do you want to be? And What impact do you want to make on this world?” After all these years, creative is where the heart was, it is where it belongs, and I can’t imagine myself pursing a career that isn’t creative. I am young, vulnerable, and still confused but I will own it and I am not afraid of not knowing who I am. Life is a journey, but no mountain is too high and no ocean is too big – we always find a way to get across it. I love the journey, which is why I also love designing. Design is a puzzle, it’s challenging and stressful but it’s also exciting and magical when the pieces become an whole image. I hope to learn how to play with the pieces this semester and challenge myself creatively. I’ve never worked with type intensively, nor have I built my own typeface, but it all sounds very fun so let the journey begin.


One Comment

  1. Thanks for your vulnerability, Sara, and for sharing your story. I’m glad to have you on our team!

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