I’m 25 years old, three years out of college, doing interim jobs in order to… not exactly survive, but just to do something with myself. I haven’t been happy in a long time.
I’m so lucky in the fact that C has a federal job, and even more lucky in the fact that he doesn’t mind supporting my bum self while I figure things out.
I graduated college with a Communication degree. In high school, I was very involved with graphic design. I didn’t think I was great at it, but other people did. I became a yearbook layout editor, I entered competitions (and won some), I made graduation programs, I even made invitations for a lot of my graduating friends.
My Filipino self refused to go to an art school. I thought a Communication degree was a nice medium.
I declared my Advertising concentration my Sophomore year of college, after joining the Advertising club and meeting a Senior on his way to Chicago Portfolio School. I learned about Art Direction and Copywriting, fell in love with “Creatives,” and believed I could succeed.
At first, I thought I’d be an Art Director. With my graphic design past, it only made sense. I never admitted it to anyone, but after a while, I wasn’t confident with my skills anymore. They were basic compared to others. I still earned a graphic design certificate, but I worked towards an English minor too. I started to write more. I started to appreciate the words in commercials more than the visuals, and decided that I would work towards becoming a Copywriter. I fought our department Dean for the Advanced Copywriting class to be offered so I could get as much as I could out of my liberal-arts college. I was going to be a Creative, no matter what.
I graduated college and spent a year in Hawai’i working, saving up to move out again with my husband. I found a Portfolio School in San Diego, fell in love, and saved up enough to enroll.
The year ended and we moved. I worked a crappy job at the zoo to make money. I contacted the portfolio school. I interviewed with the head of the studio. I made plans to start becoming what I wanted.
And then, I did.
I went to portfolio school to work towards becoming a Copywriter.
I did what I worked for. I did what I said I was going to do.
I. Did. It.
But, after almost a year taking classes, I realized I didn’t belong there.
I had the motivation. I had the ambition. I did work every single day, I stayed up for hours, I did everything they say a Copywriter should do in order to maximize idea potential.
The truth was, I inherently was not a “Creative.”
I love graphic design, I love writing, but I love order within it. I’m creative with parameters. My copywriting peers were witty on the spot, came up with these crazy ideas with a single word. I needed time to think. I needed examples. I needed rules, otherwise I didn’t know what I was doing.
One of my copywriting instructors praised me on being able to write formulaic lines, but it meant I couldn’t stray from one idea to another. The school’s founder sat me down and told me I needed to start thinking faster, because how I was doing now wouldn’t cut it in the industry.
I started to freak out. This was what I had wanted. This was my path for the past five years, and all of a sudden… it wasn’t me. I stopped taking classes. I said my goodbyes to the department heads and said, “I’m hoping to be back soon,” even though I knew it was the end.
Since then, I’ve been in a rut.
Now… I don’t know who I am. I don’t really know what I want anymore.
We’ve been in San Diego for almost three years now, and day after day I don’t know what I’m doing here. I came to the mainland for better career opportunities, but now, I don’t even know what career I should be headed towards.
To be honest, I’m still searching. I’m still trying to find something about myself that works and can be translated to a career. I’m also trying to find what works in terms of happiness. Is a career everything to me? Or do I just need more money to survive?
I don’t know. As of now, I am in the ruttiest of ruts, but trust that I’m trying to climb out of it.
My husband and my brother posing for a photo.
I just recently got back from a very short trip back home to Hawai’i in honor of my younger brother’s graduation from University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Big hopes for my future architect brother!
I love graduation season in Hawai’i. It’s nothing you’ve ever seen. People are weighed down by their weight in leis, struggling to breathe, sweating from the heat, and yet the only feeling they have is being overwhelmed with love and excitement for their accomplishment.
Granted, high school graduations are the ones people get serious for, and it gets a lot of heat for doing so. “Why should you be so happy that they graduated high school? Doesn’t everyone graduate high school?!” For one thing, it’s a pretty big accomplishment in Hawai’i to graduate high school (sad, but true), and for another thing, can’t we just have any excuse to celebrate and give someone a lei? Any reason to party, right?
Throwback to my high school graduation, and this wasn’t even the end of the night yet.
Another thing I love about graduation leis is that in Hawai’i, it doesn’t have to be flowers. As you can see in the photos, some other popular items of decoration are money leis, candy leis, floaties, hakus (flower crowns, essentially), and then the most creative things you can think of. Trust me, you can turn anything into “leis” (for the most part). I’ve seen mini alcohol bottles wrapped in netting, tied together, and draped around people. I’ve been given diaper hats. I’ve even seen cans of spam tied to some strong rope, with the poor recipients lugging around their gift. In Hawai’i, this is so normal. It’s expected. The goal at the end of the night is to not be able to breathe.
When it does come time to take everything off, it feels amazing. Literally 10-20 pounds lifted off your shoulders.
When I graduated college in New York, I had several family members fly up to see me graduate. They came with gifts from my other family members who couldn’t make it. I wasn’t expecting it, and when the ceremony was over, I stuck out like the sorest thumb in the world.
My then-boyfriend/now husband and I at my college graduation.
It’s not as much as I had in high school, but it was more than enough to bring attention to me. People stared. People took photos. People stopped me on my way back to my dorm to ask me if they could take a picture of me and send it to their friends because they’ve never seen it before. They asked me what “all this” was. I was actually pretty thrown off by their curiosity, but I should have expected it.
I love being from Hawai’i. I loved that what we do is so different from the mainland. I love this tradition full of love, support, happiness, and fun that’s so specific to us. Being from Hawai’i is definitely being from a different culture, and I only wish more people could experience it!