I am 35 years old and it’s my first day of school.
Not my first day ever. I had kindergarten, high school, art college, university and then two other art colleges before I finished 7 years ago.
Now I’m going back and I couldn’t be more excited.
It’s taken about 9 months to get here, my second chance at a career I’ve wanted since I was 12.
I’m studying Computer Animation.
I spent the last few years living at home with my folks, trying to eke out a living as a freelance graphic designer for people living in the city while I was living out in the country.
The last year was the hardest because my dad’s health deteriorated over the holidays and he needed more and more help from my mom as the year progressed.
Last spring, I decided that graphic design just wasn’t satisfying me, financially or creatively, so I asked a friend what I needed to do to work in animation.
He mentioned there was a funding program that helps to finances retraining for people in my situation and that I should get myself back to school to make myself competitive in the current marketplace.
I started the application process for funding shortly afterwards, then applied to school.
I realized that my portfolio needed work, and the school I was applying to had a summer workshop called “Drawing for Animation”. I spent all of July, a four-hour round trip, four days a week, for four weeks drawing with high school students getting ready for college.
It was great!
I spent August updating my reel and picking the new pieces to submit in my bid to become a student again. I submitted my portfolio at the end of August.
September was nerve-wracking.Three weeks in, I found out that the college hadn’t received my university transcripts and I had to scramble to fix that error.
Thankfully, I got my acceptance letter just before Thanksgiving. I say thankfully because that meant I got to tell my dad. He passed away not too long afterwards.
The rest of my financial paperwork was wrapped up by December, and it was approved just last Friday.
Now you can see why I’m excited to get back to school.
I’m doing it for my dad, who showed off my artwork to strangers.
I’m doing it for my mom, who has always been my biggest supporter. She’s also my home base, my rock while I journey back and forth on this venture.
I’m doing it for my brother, who never resented me for taking longer than him to find my purpose.
I’m doing it for my mentor, who threw me a rope when I thought my dreams had gotten away from me.
But most of all, I’m doing it for me.
I earned this.