Sunday, April 24

Coming Soon: Life After Grad School

Since January I've been working on my capstone project, my final mission to accomplish before graduating in June. The capstone project is a big research study and accompanying paper applying what I've learned over the past few years as I've been working toward a master's degree in web design and development. Even though the last few weeks have been especially busy, there is this underlying excitement brimming as I think about life after grad school.

Before going back to school, the three creative activities I enjoyed the most were making jewelry, blogging, and taking pictures. At the time, I was actively selling my jewelry at art and craft fairs, through a few shops and boutiques, and was swimming along in this wonderful creative current- a place where new ideas came easily, and I saw inspiration everywhere. It seems like the more you practice being creative, the more easily that creative energy swirls around you. Well, once school started, all that energy was used for writing, researching, coding, or creating a website for class, and I the things I enjoyed- sewing, taking pictures, and making jewelry- kind of felt like work, so I cut back on those wonderful, messy, hands-on creative projects.

I'm currently working on my final project, a wonderful dive into web usability for small businesses. I'm currently redesigning a website for a family and wedding portrait photographer, and just completed a 20-person usability assessment study testing about perceptions of value, credibility, and web usability of the photographer's website. This project is definitely one of those challenging and equally amazing experiences. At one point I never imagined how I'd be able to write 50 pages on anything, and now I'm worried that I will have way too many things to say about my topic.

Once I've graduated, I'm looking forward to summertime scooter riding, art-making, and just being, but part of me is trying slow down and savor the experience just a little. Even though I know I will always enjoy learning new things and developing new skills on my own, there is something I appreciate about being in school where I'm often obligated to push myself beyond what I think I have in me. My husband gave me an art desk this Christmas in anticipation of my graduation, so I'm getting excited about dusting off my art supplies soon.

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