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We Are All Lost & Found Together (Self Assessment)

Blog 1: A Tragic Pandemic That Fast-Tracked My Career

I think I could honestly say out of all the projects I’ve claimed success to I seem to be gravitating toward the most recent success that’s so closely connected to where I want to be hit me like a virus rolling in! That’s right, in spite of the tragic loss our world has seen and is still fighting each day forward, Covid19 has presented opportunities to explore new ways of communicating and connecting with others. The 2020 Global Pandemic forced our world to rethink the way we have been doing things, and thanks to advanced technology and access to the internet, this transition has become a global trend for educators, business people, designers, and artists around the world. I happen to fall into all 3 of these categories so you can imagine, this pandemic has supercharged my career into fast forward and I had better be holding on tight!

In March what we knew all changed. The sudden need for acting without hesitation and doing what I do best, solve problems, I found that transitioning to online learning and teaching without hesitation gave me a chance to implement a system to sustain my work for my students, my clients, and for my own education, suddenly I was at the very center of what I’ve been trying to implement into my work, an experiential learning opportunity. What better way to learn, than to jump right in and become part of the test?

I’ve had personal goals and professional goals I’ve set, determined to get a chance to teach online. The true curiosity I’ve had which has become the core of my work, is how experience impacts the way we grow as creative professionals.

When forced to think in the pinch, I worked around the clock to shift to an online environment, but the trick is in keeping the students engaged and learning actively as if we never skipped a beat. As Digital Designers, this should be something we all thrive at!

I knew I would have to find a way to bring the most valuable piece with me, the classroom. That’s right, remote learning is giving me a chance to re-imagine how I deliver content and engage my students, all while keeping me hot on my toes. I was thrown in with thousands of other instructors worldwide, to suddenly be trained, to be qualified to teach in this modality. Let’s look at the global community of teachers who have been impacted by this great change. The Covid pandemic shifted an entire globe to remote learning, and those who wish to remain, will have to find new ways of delivering content in a meaningful way. We will have to pursue training and education to become relevant and we will have to do our good creative work to stand apart from the rest of the competition.

This Pandemic sent me soaring into the future of design, engaging people with multimedia experiences and creative storytelling. How lucky am I to be a part of this new change? We are all lost & found together.

What an opportunity to reinvent education, and embrace my field as a Digital Design Instructor.

The most important role I’ve played has been a Mother! There is no other task as challenging, and exhausting, as emotional, and yet, as rewarding as being a Mother. My kids look to me for everything. Every move I make, the way I react, the way I express my love and my fierce authority. All of this impacts the way my tiny little humans will grow and serve in their communities. The presence I set, which is flawed and far from perfect, will impact the way my children grow, and will influence their behaviors as well.

When I look at my role as an instructor this is the same. At Red Rocks Community College I developed a program that allows me to bring in and help facilitate client projects for a class full of Photographers, Graphic Designers, and Videographers. In this position I not only educate my students on how to produce, but how to be organized, and how to lead. My life is total chaos so how can I be this role model? Well, this is the challenge that I face every day. There are always eyes on me. There are always questions asked of me. I have to do much more than just talk the talk. I have to learn to walk the walk too.

Whenever I’m faced with an obstacle, first I might have to have a good cry. I often do this in combination with a few screams or perhaps an occasional meltdown, but I try to do all this behind closed doors. Once I get all that surface level “being a woman” kind of emotion out of the way I love brainstorming. The design process is what I think about when it comes to this. First, I define the problem. Second, I evaluate all the key components, moving parts, or “items or individuals” Involved. From there, I like to brainstorm solutions and how each of those would play out and of course the impact they will make as well. This process helps me identify details that can get overlooked, which is why I do this by writing everything down. This process also helps me flush out the good from the bad, and allows room to consider practical solutions to test.

I think what people are constantly saying to me is the fact that I am passionate. I also like to include that I am part crazy as well, but in a creative way. I’m told I have the ability to solve problems with creativity which feels like a good way of dealing with problems. This is true. I like to think outside the box and to try new things.

My ability to multitask has been at the core of everything I do. Do I do this well every day? No! I will not go as far as saying I’m great at this always, but when I focus and I stick to the schedule, I often feel like a multi-tasking ninja!

As independent as I like to be, and as much of an introvert I really am, I actually thrive when I get around other thinkers. I like to collaborate and poke at the minds of other creatives. I think it’s important and almost imperative to include outside ideas and perspectives, especially ones that challenge my own way of thinking.

I really think the only thing I’ve mastered and would rather not use every day is the fact I like to volunteer so much. I have this issue with raising my hand and taking on lots of projects as a lead in the conversation. Although this keeps me active in the mix of things, I fear this has not always been a good thing. I really think as a Designer, in a rapidly changing industry, it’s hard to claim mastery of skills that are applied to each project as a separate experience and circumstance. How can you master something that is impacted by a space and time in which it arises? “The fundamentals haven’t changed”, or have they? True mastery is something achieved per project and only celebrated for that specific piece in time. I hope that makes sense!

My greatest skill is curiosity. I believe my need to know more, my desire to learn, and my passion to grow in an industry that makes me feel like I can express myself, will become the driving force to all research I pursue throughout my creative career. I will continue to look beyond my community, my state, my country, and I will keep an open mind and remember how many resources are available to continue furthering my education and personal growth throughout my creative career.

· What skills are you missing? What skills would you like to build but have not yet had the opportunity to practice?

I feel like I’m drawn to this area of production and design as a mix of creating opportunities and a space to produce experiential learning opportunities for myself and my students. I want to explore the idea of launching a

I hate mentioning my weaknesses because I’m my worst critic. Maybe that’s a weakness in itself, but I tend to be really hard on myself and always left in wonder and worried about what others think of me. This weakness I think is commonly shared in the industry of artists and designers. I feel like one of the things that I’ve witnessed over and over again, is the lack of confidence that tries to stand in the way each day for artists. We have since the beginning of time when painters were trying to get commissioned work, we’ve been undervalued. Why do people think it’s easy to be creative? This is a process, it takes focus, and if we are constantly being forged into this impression that our work is so fun and easy, this makes it incredibly hard to find self-worth and not become our own worst enemies.

When I started teaching, suddenly my focus shifted to supporting the students and I had less time to get my hands dirty. I started managing and directing. I was suddenly sitting back and I was seeing things from a different perspective. I realized I took on a leadership role, but suddenly I wasn’t physically impacting work with my hands. For me, I felt like I needed to be practicing what I was preaching, or teaching, especially in this industry that’s changing minute by minute. It was in this moment that I saw the value of becoming a lifelong learner like the book talks about. Active teaching supports active learning and vice versa. In the experiential program I was looking to find a way that I could teach and learn, all while playing around and experimenting with the latest and greatest new tech. I want to be just as much involved as the students I’m co-creating with.

I rarely give up, but I’ve been borderline “losing my shit” many times over the years, and at least every other month ever since I had kids when the demands quadrupled. My whole drive stems from my daughter first, since she’s the reason I’m here today. After many years of isolating myself and focusing on my career, I found myself somewhere I never thought I would be, with a little family of my own with a couple more step kids and a man who needs me more than I’ve ever been needed before in my life! How do I juggle this and still pursue my dreams? If you only knew the path I’ve traveled and the hell I pulled my life out of, you would be amazed I’m even standing, let alone pursuing a life I never could have imagined before, pursuing a career and a family.

Unfortunately, what people don’t see is the trauma I suffer from, caused by a past that tried to take my soul. The brokenness that remains, the pain, the fear, the complete humility and shame from being exploited and brutally broken, day after day for years. What people don’t see are the trials in my life that brought me through the darkest depths of what some people would call nightmares. What people don’t know is it took a merciful God to extend a hand into the depths I laid, and walk with me along a path for recovery to restore the pieces of my life that were robbed. I worked my ass of to become a student again, to learn to communicate again and today I stand at the front of a class. How did all this happen? I am not very confident and I always assume people are thinking the worst about everything I do. II'm grateful the more time that's passed I've become more aware of this feeling being unrealistic and damaging. I still also just worry about worrying. I'be been broken and scared, trying to rebuild my very existence, to reclaim my own identity and trying to find a way to communicate again. I have been doing all of this in silence, hiding these scars from most people. This is hidden deep. These are weaknesses that I fight every day, that no one ever sees. My family sees how broken I am at times, and then other times I am so free, I feel like I can do anything.

I had a job one time that was really important to me, but it fell apart and there were multiple reasons that were definitely my fault. I got comfortable with my client and I locked in a sweet contract, but I handed the work over for someone else to do. This was not a good decision because I sold the project based on my skills and my abilities, under my word, and my name on the line. I put the weight on someone else and then forgot about it. I got busy on other projects and assumed it was getting done. Even I tend to procrastinate sometimes, but I never imagined the person I gave this over to would have . How dare they do that? Nowadays I have control issues because of things like this, but to pass the buck to someone else who procrastinates to the point where nobody can get it done, well, I worked with this client for nearly 8 years. I finally got around to cleaning up my mess and making things right, but by then it had taken so long I wouldn’t be surprised if that ship has sailed and my relationship I worked so hard to maintain and build over those years, had fallen apart.

Three weaknesses I hope to overcome through thesis are absolutely detrimental to me moving forward at all. First is balance. I take on so much I am so busy that my time with my kids and family always feels forced. I need to be able to have a space and time too be creative, and a space and time to be with family. The Covid19 pandemic has forced us into a tough situation with all 3 kids being home with me around the clock nonstop. They are also doing remote learning, I’m a teacher and a student as well. I live and work and sleep and I’m a mom, and , and, and, all in the same place I am seriously too distracted to get shit done. I have to lessen the distractions in order to stick to the schedule, in order to restore balance which is necessary for my own mental health as well as my children. I need to detach from work, unplug, and stop thinking and over thinking everything. I need time to be creative for myself and to learn things I want to learn to enhance my own skills.

I almost feel like just writing about this is already getting me moving in the right direction. I really think I’m on the right path, and I have a pretty good idea of where I want to go. Although I do not have all the pieces, and some of that part of my life may not be written just yet, I do indeed have faith and confidence that I’m right where I need to be. I will continue to practice these 2 things and I know I will continue to grow.

I hope to find ways of using my creativity to create the boundaries I need to set for myself to work, to learn, to be a mother , and to properly heal. I need to be more confident, less worried, and I think everything else will just fall into place.

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