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Choosing Graphic Design

I imagine it isn't entirely a surprise, or really a surprise at all, that throughout most of my life I actually pursued a career in the science field. Seeing that I am Asian - specifically Bengali - and Muslim, it isn't much of a shock to most people when I tell them I originally wanted to be a doctor, or at least I thought I did.

Growing up, my parents really did a great job at influencing and raising me in a way that I aspired to be a doctor when I grew up. They would buy us toys and such every now and then, but whenever I wanted one of those toy doctor sets, they suspiciously bought one for me without hesitation. I had two very memorable doctor-toy kits growing up. It was a complete set, including a little briefcase, stethoscope, thermometer, and some of those other doctor stuff. Clearly they thought buying me those toys would be beneficial to me and ultimately inspire and influence me to pursue a career in the medical field one day.

By the time I was in high school my ambitions started getting hazy. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do anymore. I'd applied to so many opportunities related to the medical field, and got rejected. I tried to get an internship as a pharmaceutical technician and it didn't work out for me. I tried to get an internship at the DMC, where almost 80% of my (also Asian) friends applied and got into... and it didn't work out for me either. I slowly realized that I really did not want to have to be in school for years to be a doctor, and finally accepted that the path just wasn't meant for me.

One thing that just didn't cross my mind throughout high school, is that even though I was denied of many science-related opportunities, I still had many amazing ones! My artwork was submitted and displayed at the annual student exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) three years in a row. I was even awarded medals and/or certificates for my work. One year, I won first place and received a gold medal for a painting I did for the Michigan Social Studies Olympiad. I was in a total of four art fairs between 2015 and 2016, where I made tons of money in a matter of one weekend. I freelanced throughout high school, selling drawings and paintings to my friends, making custom jewelry, or selling handmade rings to my classmates and teachers. Whether I knew it at the time or not, I was thriving at everything art-related. I was just too blinded by my forced ambitions to see that art was what I was meant to do. It was the one thing I enjoyed doing and excelled at.

Towards the end of my high school career, I volunteered at a chiropractic clinic in Hamtramck. For the most part I must have enjoyed it, because all of a sudden I thought I wanted to be a chiropractor. It wasn't long before I realized that I wouldn't feel too comfortable around having to be alone and physically touch male patients, so I quickly came out of that decision. Apart from that, when I talked to my mom about it, she wasn't too excited. Really, she wasn't going to be impressed by any career choice anyway, unless I chose to be a doctor. By the time I started college, there was only one thing I was sure of. I did not want to be a doctor. Still, I was unsure about what I really wanted to do... or rather, what I wanted to do that would make my mom happy. I decided that if I wasn't going to make my mom happy by being a doctor, maybe I could try being a Dietitian to stay within the science field. I'd be working in a hospital with the doctors after all.

Throughout high school, I'd always been an overachieving student. My GPA was never below a 3.8 or so, and the highest was nearly 5.0 by the time I graduated. This is important, but I'll get back to this later. Freshmen year of college, I pretty much sucked at all my science classes. I mean, I was nearly failing them all. Biology was bizarre, chemistry was chaotic, and nutrition was nuts... I felt mentally exhausted throughout that year, and tried making up for it by spending time with friends. I was never able to concentrate on my studies. And in case it hasn't been figured out yet, I'm not exactly the type of person to excel at something that I have absolutely no interest in. I simply cannot do well at something that I don't want to do at all. I tried to convince myself that I wanted to be a Dietitian, and forced myself to believe it. I tried to tell myself and others that I was passionate about the career, but I just wasn't. No matter what I said or tried, I just could not get myself to enjoy a single aspect of my major. Remember when I said my GPA was never below a 3.8? By the end of my freshmen year of college, my GPA dropped down to a 2.29 - easily the lowest GPA I ever had in my entire academic career. Most people might not think it's that big of a deal, but to me it was, and it just showed me that science wasn't working for me. By my sophomore year I finally decided to make the greatest decision of my life.

For those who haven't figured it out by now, I got married in Bangladesh when I was 18, back in 2016. I was married when I started college, and had a husband on the other side of the world who helped me get through those tough moments of my freshmen year. My husband is the one who encouraged me to change my major and do graphic design. He is the reason I was able to finally realize the path I was meant to take. He is the reason I had the courage to speak to my mom about changing my major. It was very hard for me - I mean extremely nerve racking - to sit my mom down one day and let her know that I was giving up on science, and that I would be following the path I was passionate about: art & design. Of course she didn't take it very well. As a matter of fact, I found out she called my husband (in Bangladesh) and tried to get him to talk me out of choosing graphic design. Thankfully, he defended me and supported me all the way. I will be forever grateful to my husband for encouraging me to follow my passion and supporting me from the start.

So there you have it. After torturing myself throughout a whole year of college, I finally decided to choose the path that was always meant for me. I finally decided to pursue a career in graphic design, because that's what made me happy. It's what I enjoyed. And it was the greatest decision of my life.

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