I think I know what direction I want to go in and it may not include what I spend $40,000+/year on

While I am well skilled in math and science and have the potential to be a STEM individual, I decided to go to college to study photography, to be a creative. I decided to attend a university that costs approximately $47,000 a year to attend to study a subject I could have taught myself. However, coming to RIT has been one of the best things in my life, even if I am not sure what life has in store for me come May 2015. 

I had heard many stories about people who went to college for many years to end up not being in love with what they studied, doing it just for a secure job after graduation, or it took them a long time to figure out they weren’t doing what they love. I didn’t want that, as soon as I knew I loved photography, I knew I was going to chase my dreams and go to my dream school and study what I want from the get-go. I don’t have well-off family who pay for my school, but instead I have my determination to work 3-4 jobs, obtain scholarship, and some family who helped me out in the beginning (whom I am so, so grateful for and love, they know who they are!). 

Now, I sit and think with my desk in an array of books, papers, and flyers wondering if photo is the right thing for me. I didn’t choose this major for the money, but I did choose it for the love and challenge it gives me. 

Each week in my Fine Art Portfolio class, I leave inspired by my professor that I am doing something right. I am on a right path, even if I may not feel 100% confident in it.

My current project is about how people see themselves on the inside versus what they portray themselves as on the outside. What they show and what they keep in the shadows. This project has been harder than I anticipated, but along the way I am struck by the confidence and awe in my professors voice each critique we have: I care. I care enough to want to help people discover themselves on a journey that is their own, because I feel it is so important. That is the passion in this project. That is the passion that has been shown during my past four years at RIT.

While it seems my passion is freakin’ expensive, I am glad I came here to figure it out. I see it in my every day life: I am a resident advisor and work with freshmen enriching their college experience, I am a peer among many students in an organization called Photo House, I am an active loving member of an ASL poetry group called Dangerous Signs, I am involved in a certificate program about Social Change. I am passionate about people, inspiring others, motivating others, and helping others express themselves. That is what my work is constantly about, whether I am the main subject or other people. 

I needed college to help me figure this out. So, while I may not know if I am going to be making money off my photography after graduation, what I do know is this: I will continue to do what I love; I will inspire, motivate, and create in one outlet or another. My loans and debt will be worth it in the end, because I know I have profitable technical skills (retouching, color management, digital asset management, etc.), as well as a passion that has only grown during my time in school. 

Tell me what you are passionate about and maybe we can make something together :)

xx,

Mariah