When I Grow Up

Words & Collage by: Marissa Hor

Growing up, I never really had a solid idea of what I wanted to do, and to be perfectly honest, I still don’t.

Since I can remember, I’ve been connected to my creative side like it was another state of existence for me. My creative juices flow in phases; sometimes they don’t come at all and I’ll go months with nothing, but when they hit, it’s an A1 pencil drawing of Frank Ocean in lockdown 1.0.

I’ve never really found myself interested in anything else. Trust me, I’ve tried drama, gymnastics (I was low-key pretty good), piano, guitar, and don’t even mention sports because I’m the least coordinated person you’ll ever meet. None of them really stuck. But art class was my favourite two hours of the week, and I never missed a single one. As a kid, I churned drawings out like a machine, pages filled with every single colour of crayon, pencil, or marker I could find — my mum has collected about eight display folders of my scribbles to prove this. These creative juices seemed to stop every time life got busy, only trickling their way into the margins of my notebook in English class as we discussed Romeo and Juliet.

When the last couple years of high school came, I realised I still liked making art but enjoyed more defined forms of it, preferring isometric drawings and branding design in VisCom over expressive and open briefs in Studio Art. By the end of Year 12, I knew I wanted to do Communication Design, and applied to RMIT with a little folio of design projects I’d rather not look at today. The biggest sacrifice I had to make was leaving schoolies a couple of days early to attend my interview, which doesn’t sound as significant right now, but I promise you it hurt. But not nearly as much as reading the email that said I didn’t get accepted, anyway.

After getting rejected, I instantly second guessed myself — I wondered if design was a good idea or if I would be better at something else instead. I mean, I was good at biology (I could memorise definitions) and enjoyed
it (relatively), so why not? I almost made the impulsive decision to change my first preference to a degree in Biomedical Sciences, but looking back, I am so fucking glad I didn’t. I eventually accepted a spot at Monash for a Bachelor of Communication Design, and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve really enjoyed uni so far and probably wouldn’t be able to say the same if I convinced myself that I wanted to do Biomed; honestly, who was I kidding?

Uni taught me that I liked branding, was okay with basic UX, was average at illustration, really enjoyed type, but am most into print and publication (so far). Graduating from the pages of Winx Club, to Dolly, Girlfriend, Frankie, and finally Esperanto, I guess some part of me knew I’d get into magazines one day. Though it feels inevitable, I’m praying screens don’t replace the feeling of flicking through real life publications one day, or if they do, I hope that just like record players and film cameras resurfacing, we learn to appreciate publication design more in the future. Perhaps I’ll continue finding happiness in the pages of printed magazines, or maybe this will end as a phase. Though I’m still unsure of what I really want to pursue in design after
I graduate, I’m enjoying the process of figuring it out.

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