how one day changed everything.

25 August 2011

If you’ve been following me on twitter lately, you’ll know I haven’t had the best few days.

It’s been hard to talk about, mainly because I keep crying. Seriously. I’ve cried way too much this week.

Basically, I’ve been asked to leave the Portfolio School. Or, well, we’re calling it “a break”… But regardless, I won’t be back next quarter. It’s hard news to take, but I can understand where they’re coming from. Our school is a business. It was just sort of out of no where as the week prior we’d made arrangements for me to work at school next quarter to help cover some of my tuition costs. But me getting behind in one class due to health reasons (and getting frustrated because of personal issues with the instructor), apparently they thought it was best I leave.

I know this isn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. I’m not dying. But this is still a big change for me. Even with the rest of the challenges I’ve been dealing with lately, school has been one of the greatest highlights and source of happiness/self-esteem. This also leaves me with the “what the hell do I do now?” question. I’ve made some good strides in my designs this quarter. In fact, I actually found direction in terms of my career. It seemed like things were going the way they need to, that I was reaching my dreams. And now that’s been taken away from me.

I realize I can continue to work, but I won’t have that same dedicated time like I do here. I also won’t have the resources. The instructors here are invaluable. I may not like all of them–either because of teaching style or personality–but they’ve helped me make steps to become a much better designer. I’m not ready to give that up.

I can’t ignore the fact that I need money, and that well, as of right now I really don’t know what I’m going to do for rent this upcoming month. But I’ve never worried because I knew I was pursuing my dream. So, again, now what?

  • I refuse to leave Chicago. (for the time being)
  • I’m going to keep working on my designs. (I’ve even got one instructor who’s going to email me the updated homework assignments for his class)
  • I’m going to use the skills I’ve got now, and have had, to good use and profit. (aka freelancing)
  • Find cheaper housing. (I’ve got something a little less than I’m paying now, but it’s not until Nov 1)
It’s going to be a struggle, and it’s definitely an adjustment. Reading all the 20SB Summit recaps have kept me motivated–I definitely need this. Along with freelancing, I’ll actually have time to apply for all those random soul sucking jobs I’ve been wanting to avoid. I’m trying to treat this like an opportunity. All those personal projects I’ve been talking about, and now all the ones that have popped up thanks to the Summit, I’ll have some time to work on those.
Hopefully, I’ll be back in school in January. But at the same time, maybe this isn’t a door closing, but the universe telling me there’s something better for me right now.
  • Nic

    Oh honey. I’m sorry. I had no idea this was happening- been off the social media this week. I’m here and available to you anytime you need to talk or vent. I’m so proud of you for taking the approach you have! You’re a talented designer and anyone would be lucky to have you working for them. Is there anything I can do?

    • Erini

      A hug would do. And well, if you know anyone/small businesses who need a new site or blog… send them by way! But mainly the hug.

  • Sorry to hear, Erini. I agree that things happen for a reason, and you need to use this as an opportunity. While you might miss some of the feedback and instruction from your teachers, I know there are plenty of online design communities where you can get design feedback, guidance, etc. Not every great designer went to school for it (I’m sure). You’ve got the personality and likability to be very successful, and working with you I know you’ll get there. I’d recommend networking your butt off and if I catch wind of anything I’ll certainly let you know!

    • Erini

      Thank you so much BZ!

  • Jenn

    I figured your news had something to do with school, but I had no idea it was them asking you to take a break. I totally understand your disappointment and frustration but your attitude is so positive and that’s great. Hopefully this is a window opening and you can use your newfound direction to work your ass off doing something you don’t love in order to be able to ultimately get where you want to go. Good luck and like Jenny said during her keynote – lean into your network!

    • Erini

      Thanks Jenn! The support so far from everyone is helping so much. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit scared, but I think that’s only natural. Also: OMG yes, Jenny’s keynote is really helping a lot.

  • When I lost my job I felt so lost. But it’s just like you said, the universe is telling you there is something else, something better, out there for you! Best of luck and I would be happy to help in any way I can. xx, Abby

    • Erini

      Thanks Abby! I think once I figure out more of my plans, I’ll be reaching out to everyone for help.

  • Dani

    Yo -think of how much less stress you’ll feel when you have some income coming in! And if you’re able to save up, and then go back to CPS (if need be) to finish up on your own dime – that’s decision making from a place of power. True independence feels awesome, and if you push yourself, I bet you’ll get there faster than you realized –

    • Erini

      yeah, income will help. but I don’t feel like I was overly stressed about it in comparison to other things. When I think about having to move back to my folks because I can’t pay rent, it sucks… but when I thought about leaving school, I freaked out… and then that happened and I turned into a hot mess for two days.

      Here’s hoping I push myself and get there very quickly!

  • my heart is breaking for you. i’m so sorry this is happening 🙁 *hugs* i sincerely hope that it all works out in the long run because you are absolutely destined for big things

    • Erini

      thanks Michelle! We need to get you out to a blogging event one of these days, that way I can give you a proper hug!

  • Aw love, I am so sorry. You need anything — to talk, some help wrangling in freelance design clients — I am here. I like to believe thing happen for a reason, even if that is somewhat naive and terribly cliche. However, I no doubt think that here. You followed a path and maybe this is as far as it was meant to go. Great things are destined for you, I an sure of it! ::Hugs::

    • Erini

      I will gladly take help! Thanks so much, Mindy. 🙂 I’m going to take these last weeks of school and focus all my efforts into my typography & book design classes–since that’s the area of design I’d like to end up in. During whatever downtime I get before the end of quarter, I’m going to try to redesign the website (again), and figure out a plan for freelancing. And print off eleventy billion resumes.

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