Sunday, April 19, 2009

I'm torn

It's the age-old question for me: fashion design or communication studies? I love both but I have to choose. I feel that communication studies (I'm particularly interested in journalism and advertising) offers a perfect blend of my interests and suits my abilities. With my writing skills, creative ideas, design sensibilities and at times obsessional work ethic, I'm reasonably confident that I can do better than my peers if I enrol in communication studies. But for fashion design, I know that my peers will be super passionate and crazily OBSESSED with the work. They basically live for it. It's not just school, it's not just a job, it's their whole life. If you think you can work hard, there'll probably be someone who works even harder than you. It's an extremely competitive and stressful environment. Not that the other isn't, but I've experienced enough to know that artists are the most dedicated and relentless when it comes to their work.

I think I've already lost out from being in this educational system, which equips people for a certain path, the academic university path. Over there, people spend years preparing to enter top fashion schools like Parsons or FIT. They have portfolio review days at the art and design colleges, which are a big thing. While I'm passionate about fashion, I just don't know if I can do it myself, if you know what I mean. Some think I have talent, but of course I'm better than most people here, because they've never had the chance to even try. It's not so much clothes than I'm interested in, because I'm not the shopaholic who buys a gazillion clothes to wear, but the beauty and creativity of the work produced. I love art for the same reason as well. In this sense I might be more of an admirer than a creator. I like to contemplate and critique art and fashion collections.

I have a burning desire to WRITE. Even if it's just scrawling a few words that strike me in my notebook. I think some people don't understand this. My brother, for example, was confused when I said I wanted to get a Typepad or Wordpress blog account. He just didn't see the need of paying to blog. But for me, writing is like breathing- it's an integral part of my life. And just as one wants to have clean, fresh, wholesome air, I want to have a better experience when writing in my blog, hence the idea.

But enough of this digression. I want to think that I'm not someone who shies away from a challenge. I like to think that quiet determination and tenacity are qualities of mine. At the same time, I can't do something just because I feel obliged to put up a strong front. Right now, the cost of doing fashion design in the US is daunting. It's a prolonged investment that will drain away a huge portion of my family's income, and I don't know whether it's worth it. I really have no idea how I will do in the course. I don't know if I'll have the financial means to support myself and earn back the money. I don't want my parents to make a financial decision they'll regret.

It's hard not to put weight to it when it involves so much money. To do otherwise would be acting like a rich brat and doing a disservice to my parents. I don't mind taking risks, but I also know that one should not gamble beyond his or her means. Is this too big of a gamble?


Ly said...

Hey dear, in some ways, I'm grappling with the same problem as you are. Law or communication studies? I think I will do well for mass com given personal quality and interest but law is the challenge that is so tempting to take up. Law will require more time and money, both of which I barely have. I am still considering and weighing my option. Maybe we can write down the pluses and minuses of the courses into a table of sort to compare? But ultimately, practical reasons aside, it's what you think you can put up with for almost a lifetime that you should choose. Besides, career switching is becoming more and more common nowadays so as long as your skills are transferable, I think you can always switch to something you love more later in life. Even if fashion design turn out not to be your cup of tea and your determination and love for it do not carry you through, you can still switch to journalism later. Or you can do both at the same time. Conversely, you can start with fashion later in life, when you have saved up enough from your journalist job to pay for yourself. So take it easy. As long as the interest is there, it's never to late to start something new.

Ly said...

PS: Lol... ignore the many typos! :P Let's go for ice-cream sometime!

yilin said...

Yep I guess what you said is right. I'm young with plenty of time to spare and I've got nothing to lose if I do fashion design (except money). I'll never know if I don't try. Sure, let's go for ice-cream (it's so hot nowadays!) Just tell me when

ellastica said...

if you have the opportunity to do what you LOVE, DO IT!
i didn't pursue my 'fashion' dreams for many silly reasons, and also i wasn't sure exactly WHAT i wanted to do. But that's why one goes to school; to discover and hone one's skills and talents.
i did the journalism thing as a student, then was offered the job of writing the entertainment section of my college paper. i freaked out and didn't do it at the last minute. (for some reason i had visions of being stranded at some podunc newspaper in Idaho).very bad move.
an important ephiphany struck me: never feel trapped. we all make personal choices and have the power to make them, learn from them and move on and try something else, if one so desires.
i've been obsessed with fashion since I was five. and here i am almost 25 regretting not pursuing my 'passion for fashion.' like you, i'm not interested in the glamour, shopping sprees, 'it' bag mania or 'it' whatever. the most talented, influential people in fashion care about personal style, obsess and speak to cultural/ subcultural influences. both of which apply to you, from what i've seen/read. you have the knowledge.
if anything it will be a very enriching learning experience from which to draw upon for journalism, communication purposes.
best of luck!

yilin said...

thanks so much for your sweet comment, ellastica!