When I was young, my mother had a subscription to Architectural Digest. Though our home was nice, comfortable, and definitely my mother’s style, it was nothing like the homes in the magazine. But, an art teacher friend of my dad recommended it for her, and she began to receive. The other day, I checked out an issue at our downtown library. Why? Because all the copies of House Beautiful were checked out. And perhaps I was feeling a bit nostalgic. And I’m thinking about becoming an architect. [not really… a folk band lutist, perhaps, but not an architect]
I thought about the Bauhaus the other day. Are you familiar with the Bauhaus? I am, a bit, due to the fact I was an Interior Design major for one semester. I remember learning about the Bauhaus and its importance to design elements and that sort of thing. Often when I think back to my first semester of college, I associate that time period with my first encounter with failure.
Why? Because I pretty much failed as an Interior Design major. At least from my perspective. Honestly, I had no idea what I was getting into. I was young, naive, and influenced by an academic adviser named Clayton Peterson [I think] who said if I didn’t take 4 design classes plus an English course, I wouldn’t be on track. So, I jumped right in. My parents forked out mucho dinero for Staedtler products. I felt a bit lost. A bit swept away in a sea of artsy people that I didn’t much fit in with and didn’t feel I measured up to. I liked my Intro to Interior Design course a lot. I did fine in it. Yet Drafting 101 [or whatever it was called] did me in. I received the grade of “D”. My academic scholarship was lost, I felt I desperately needed to do a 360, and ran to another department. A history professor took interest in me and set up an interview with an interior designer. I don’t remember much about the episode, as it happened in 1986, but it wasn’t enough to sway me into keeping on that path. I changed majors and sold the Staedtler products to a young lady who hopefully fared better with them than I did.
Looking back, I realize I didn’t give myself the best shot. I was into music and academics as a high schooler. I wasn’t into drawing or designing, and I didn’t have much guidance into the next steps for my life. In college, I quickly realized there’s a difference between being a designer and being a decorator. Looking back though, I sort of wish someone would have showed me some other options. Perhaps something related to the design field, yet something that didn’t require drafting……..
Because sometimes I miss those Staedtler pens and tools. Sometimes I regret giving up so easily. Sure, we all have limits to what we can accomplish. Yet, I think my failure was more in running than it was in the “D” in drafting class.
I wholeheartedly believe it’s alright to have regrets. And I regret, just a bit, that I left the College of Design. Okay, maybe not so much leaving that particular department and plan, but that I allowed a failure to change me and confine me.
So while I realize quite realistically I was never meant to be the Dorothy Draper of my generation, I sometimes mourn the girl who grew up going to antique stores. I mourn the girl who in 1985 wore her aunt’s clothes made in 1961. The girl who read her Mom’s Architectural Digest and happily researched the [Effects of Color on Interior Design]. Fortunately, I think I return to being that girl a bit more everyday. And I hope I encourage my daughter and son to not let their failures, or perceived failures, define them. Shouldn’t we be who we are? Maybe I should have been a mediocre interior designer. With an assistant to do the drafting. . . . . .