My wife is an amazing photographer and digital artist, and she loves working on her iPad or iPhone making art. She has become a specialist in using apps for this purpose, and she has now turned this skill into a class she teaches at City College of Sacramento called “Digital Content Creation.” Partly to support her and partly because I’m genuinely interested in the subject, I am enrolled in the course too. It’s been enormously valuable so far, as I have been learning how to use my phone (an Android) to its full creative power to take pictures, make social media posts, create memes, and the like. This has aligned perfectly with my online activities, including this blog. In fact, it motivated me to start putting pictures (all self-shot) along with my posts. It has also worked in tandem with doing the Artist Mindset Podcast, where I have created video and used the skills I am learning to create logos for the episodes. Basically, the timing could not be better for me in learning to make full use of the course content for my creative projects.
At the same time, it’s the first time I have opened up the area of life called “College” in a long while. This is no accident. For one thing, after many years of sweating through school work for high school and college, I felt I had enough of academia. Academic perfectionism took a real toll on me, and I was mighty relieved to get out once I graduated. Also, I guess I have always been a bit of a learning purist or even, you might say, an academic snob: I don’t always like learning alongside others. I admit it, I can sometimes be a bit intolerant of the messy sea of humanity such as you can find in community college, where there are a variety of people who are there for a variety of reasons, with varying degrees of interest and commitment. I often prefer to learn by myself, or, if I’m learning with others, I tend to be very selective about whom I’m working with.
With these conflicting forces at work, it’s been a bit of a bumpy ride for me in this class, notwithstanding the great learning I’m getting. I have at times experienced a resurgence of the fear and anxiety that plagued me during my school days. I have often been kind of stressed out the class, even though I don’t really need to worry about getting a good grade–after all, it’s not like I’m going for a degree or something. Old habits die hard!
Then there’s the uncomfortable social factor. Maybe it’s the fact that I spent many years in public schools feeling like I was being held back from learning at my own pace. I have often preferred to go my own road when it comes to learning, as I wrote in a previous post. I’m sure at times that there are drawbacks to this. On the other hand, I’m reminded of why I have done this: when I do things by myself, I control all the parameters, and when it comes to learning, I often learn better when I’m not distracted.
All in all, this has been a good experience, but not always an easy one. I am grateful for the content I am getting, and the digital content I am creating. But my own humanity is also coming up. In the long run, I’m sure I’m getting something from revisiting, and hopefully refining, my mindset, and leaving behind the memory of former academic woes.