By Lloyd Metcalf
What if you could do exactly what you loved?
For this round of “What If” I hope our readers will allow me to an opportunity to relate a bit of my own story as the semester comes to a close. When I came to SMCC for my first degree (Communications & New Media), I found myself inspired by the energy of being surrounded by people hurtling toward a hopeful future. It was nearly impossible to contain the inspiration to pursue the things I was studying outside the boundaries of the SMCC campus and classroom. I came back to pursue the arts, and the energy is still here.
If you are on campus to get a degree to just find another job, you might be missing the opportunity of chasing dreams. There is far more going on in a degree program than just getting another job at the end.
When I got my Communications degree, I landed a pretty good job in an office that was a regular 9-to-5 in web design. I really felt like I missed the mark. I felt like the brakes had been put on after my time at school where I was moving a hundred miles an hour. Within a year I started Fail Squad Games and quit the cubicle. All those classes came into play for my company. Writing, layout, design, illustration. I was creating Dungeons & Dragons adventures and getting my company seen by people in the industry.
Even during my time at SMCC I found myself inspired by the classes I took. I put in the amount of energy I wanted to get out of each class. I started a television show on public access that is still in circulation today. “Hanging Around the Fishin’ Hole” has found millions of households across the country. During biology, I was so inspired by microscopes that I took photos of what I found in slides I prepared, embellished them in photoshop, and had an art opening on First Friday in Portland. There were numerous endeavors and projects that sprang into existence because of my classes and time at SMCC. Every class is an opportunity with professors, students, and guests who are connected and offer opportunities.
Why doesn’t everyone do it?
Because it’s hard. It takes work, dedication, and a focus on a vision. Sometimes the vision is fluid and changes on the spot, but it is still in focus. I implore you to find your vision while being a student. Leap in with these new skills. If you say your passion is writing, write — every day — a couple thousand words. If your passion is auto repair, get inside a vehicle every day, rebuild an engine piece by piece. If your passion is culinary, do it every day. Don’t just make a “sammich” for lunch, make a grilled tomato, chèvre and thyme baguette.
Nothing is “natural talent” or “complete good luck.” It’s craft, practicing and perfecting our craft while working like a wild animal toward our visions. If we sleep through our higher education, we are checking out on life, opportunity, and possibility.
“It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.”
— Whitney M. Young Jr.
I can tell you it is possible to wake up every day and do that “thing” that you dream of. You are learning the tools here to make that possible. The key factor to waking up every day to do your “thing”, is to actually wake up every day and do that thing.
“Someday,” “When I’m good enough,” “I don’t have everything I need,” “It needs to be perfect,” “What if someone steals my idea?” Do any of these sound familiar? These are the things we tell ourselves when we don’t want to do the thing we say we are passionate about. We might say things like this when we are afraid of change, failure or ridicule. I have discovered that not doing your thing is worse than failure. If you never try, it is certain there will be no success with it. If you never practice your craft, you can never master your craft.
What if you could do exactly what you love every day?
Start today — do what you love now. Master it, fail at it, try it again, do it better every single day. If you love it, it never feels like work. If you are passionate about it, a lifetime isn’t long enough. Find other masters of what you do and always be the worst at it in the room. Guarantee that you have nowhere to go but UP!