I have been absent. For the past 5 weeks, I have been teaching a UX immersive course at General Assembly, and for 40 hours a week I spend my time helping 20 people change careers, owning the knowledge I teach them, immediately making concrete things. It is extremely intense. It is like being in a reality show - like a non-televised America’s Next Top Model. But in our case, we are teaching them to become designers.
Today, we had what we call “one-on-ones” with the students, where we give them more than our undivided attention for a 15-20 minutes conversation. In my case, I spent more like 25-30 minutes with each person.
I don’t know how to say this. But I was humbled and moved hearing them be grateful to have more options in front of them in life, based on the knowledge and experience they are gaining. For some, they had to put themselves into debt to give themselves a new opportunity in their life. They are of very wide age range, and don’t all come from design or the web; I have an ex-Opera singer, a personal trainer, a mom of two who stayed home with the kids for over 6 years, a researcher, a neuroscientist… The thing is, I see myself in all of them in many different ways. Teaching is a humbling experience when done with passion and soul, where I believe you end up learning more than you teach.
During our one-on-ones I wanted to hug everyone of them. I want to make sure they get where they need to get. I believe in them so much. They have come such a long way!! I believe deeply that when we put something in our heads, and give ourselves the chance, we can get where we want. No one can tell us no. No one can say “Well if you don’t have a background in design, and are 50 years old it’s too late for you.” Fuck that. Everyone deserves to learn. And we are all many. We can have as many careers as we want or need to in our lifetimes. Why the fuck not! You tell me.
So it is on these basis that I push them, encourage them, motivate them, nurture their skills and make sure that even after this course ends, to keep in touch with them. I have, in the past, trained my friends, played (as I call it) an inspirational “Oprah” role to them, plug them to jobs and made sure they excel. I love doing that! And now I get to do it for 20 people!
Today I am humbled and moved by the power of people. My courageous women and men who gave themselves a chance, and who are finding their way.
I love my students.
A few more days
A final Hi meeting
The local neighborhood bar has a quiet time between six and nine. It is a place that specializes in coffee, beer and seasonal menus. There is just enough of each for a satisfying snack and effective buzz. After the time when the laptop lids close and before the social gatherings start -- there is a sort of twilight*. Often this time is a fugitive ground rife with creative inspiration and meditative work -- of the kind that results in personal reward.*twilight may refer to civil, nautical or astronomical variety depending on your social or terrestrial condition
A man positions his mouse on the edge of his browser window. He clicks, holds and drags the viewport first left then right. The content of a video game promo micro site responds and adapts to the available space. To the man, this is more delightful than the game itself.
A man laboriously moves his piano down three levels onto the subway platform. Classic vocals and strided chords -- he played so well I swore he was blind. Oblivious to the heat on that August stage, he was most in touch with his audience -- whom he elevated with his music.
A woman should do exactly as she pleases no matter what a man may think.
As the Dalai Lama once said, "It is a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room."
"No one understands me," she said. Her grandmother was silent for a minute. It seemed she was searching for an answer in the star speckled sky. "But no one understands anyone in this world, darling. We are all unique. It is what gives us a sense of wonder."