How did I get here?

So one week from today (actually, yesterday… I wrote most of this last night..), I will be walking at my Wilmington University graduation ceremony. The funny thing is, I’ve had not one, but TWO dreams that I arrived to the ceremony only to realize I had forgotten my cap and gown. I’m not sure why my sub-conscience is so concerned about that.. But I sure have gotten a few laughs about it.

Coming to the end of my college career (finally) has obviously inspired some reflection on the last 10 years, and my journey to a bachelors in media design and photography.

Did you know that I had four different majors in the last 10 years? Yep. FOUR! When I graduated high school, I really wasn’t sure about what I wanted. I knew I like to help people.. And I knew I love kids. So I figured, okay.. I can become a nurse and work in labor and delivery. So for my first year of college (at DelTech), I was an allied health major. I quickly realized that memorization is not my strong suit… And also, dissecting things is really gross (sometimes fascinating, but always gross). So I moved on to my second choice: kindergarten teacher! I switched my major to early childhood education, and suddenly was acing all my classes. It was awesome. Until I realized the politics behind teaching.

My personal feelings on education are simple: as humans, I feel that we fear things we don’t know or understand, and fear breeds hate. So I was extremely disappointed to learn all the rules that limit teachers on what they are allowed to teach students, as to not offend someone or cross the barriers into what other cultures or religions believe or celebrate. After about a year of early childhood education classes, I realized I’d probably get fired as a teacher for not sticking to the “core” curriculum, or crossing some fine line into religion if a student asked. So I went looking for a new plan.

One of my favorite parts as an early childhood education major was designing games for kids, then actually getting to work with the preschoolers at the center on campus. So after looking into graphic design programs, I decided to take a little time off from school and just work full-time, as the graphic design program was only offered at DelTech in Dover, and was more expensive anywhere closer.

After two years off from school, working full-time in retail, I realized I had to finish my education if I didn’t want to get stuck in a job I didn’t love. So I found an office job that offered partial tuition reimbursement, and I applied to Wilmington University for the Media Design program. WU offered night and weekend classes which fit my schedule perfectly… And I was super excited to get back to school, learning about design.

In my first semester at WU, I took the basic photography class. Somewhere in those 7 weeks, I realized that I had found my passion, and ran over to the registration office and changed my major to photography, and added a minor in print media. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with those, but I knew I loved photography and all things related to art & design, and was going to find a way to make a living off of those things.

Fast forward five & a half years, and here we are. I started Katy Rose Photography & Design (probably way earlier than I should have) in May of 2010. In my first year of classes at WU, I had learned that I wanted to work for myself one day… And figured I should start right away, part-time, so I could apply the things I was learning and build my business on the best foundation I could manage.

Now, I have been self-employed (full-time) for over a year, and I’m finally getting that expensive piece of paper that signifies knowledge, persistence and accomplishment. I’ve never felt that a degree was necessary for me to be successful, but it is something that I’ve always wanted to complete, and once I found my calling, the journey was not only fun, but I met so many amazing like-minded individuals that continue to be a source of inspiration for me. I think I’m going to miss it…

What was your favorite thing about school (grade school or high education)? Let me know @katyrosephoto on Twitter, or on Facebook!

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