When I was 15 I read a manifesto called “Stop Stealing Dreams” by Seth Godin. It made me completely rethink the school system with the question “What is school for?” I decided from then on I would focus on getting experience instead of a good GPA.

While my friends were moving into their dorms and picking their math and history classes, I got on a plane by myself to Bali, Indonesia, to teach English for 10 weeks. I lived in a tiny village called Tianyar along with other volunteers from all over the world. To this day I still talk to some of my students and fellow teachers. It was a life-changing experience that taught me independence, optimism, and gave me a fresh mindset.

After exploring Bali, I moved straight to San Francisco to attend workshops every day at Uncollege, a self-directed learning organization. These workshops were meant for developing my personal brand, soft skills, and the ability to take charge of my education. I had a life coach along with a team of mentors to help me cultivate my passions into skills. I taught myself all about graphic design, with a focus on packaging design because walking around the grocery store and looking at all the boxes is one of my favorite past-times.

Then I moved to Toronto on my own for 10 weeks to participate in Brainstation's UI/UX immersion course. The course was taught by instructors who have or currently work in the design industry. Our main project and goal was to create an app from start to finish. I created PackPrep, an app meant for travellers with a customized packing list. I learned how to research, plan, prototype, and run user tests. I fell in love with user experience and interface design because I get to use my creative side along with my logical and strategic side.

Since then, I have earned a spot in Praxis, a program for self-growth with the opportunity to gain experience by working in a startup. I hope to work on many different projects in order to expand and improve my design skills.