Walking down the hallway, black leather boots clacking. It feels kinda weird to wear these for the first time in university, I think while a student approaches me with a question. Every Tuesday evening, I’ve been working at my university as a supervisor and assisting students when needed. This evening it was exceptionally busy since all students were trying to print their photographs before Christmas holidays.
“Could you help me out with my photograph please?” The girl asks. She’s a first year student, I was a bit confused about her age. Small lines surrounding brown eyes, yet a small statured girl, dressed in a striped shirt and dungarees, stood before me. Apparently she already had a degree in social work. However, it was only after she had obtained her degree and worked several years as a student counselor, that she mustered up the courage to finally follow her passion.
“So, what is your plan for after graduation?” An innocent question, posed out of pure curiosity, but a single sentence that shook me slightly. I could almost see myself standing there, five years ago, with the same ambition and dream as this woman in front of me. Why did I tell her I wanted to become a ‘content creator’? Why confess that I had given up on the idea of becoming a ‘documentary photographer’? Did I kill the artist within and sell my soul to the devil?? (Aka capitalism!)…
I know what it might sound like, but in reality it’s a bit different. For a while now, with every passing day, I’ve been able to see the academic finish line creep up closer and closer, becoming slightly clearer by the day. I should feel proud and accomplished for all the skills I’ve obtained as a photographer. In the end, I’ve been pursuing this study for almost five years now… But to be honest, it feels the opposite is more true. Maybe you could call it ‘imposter syndrome’ or just ‘a sad girl who has let go of her dream’. Rather, the real answer is: I’m simply not the same person as who I was when I just started my studies. And I don’t think that is something unusual. What I’ve realised, is that my interests are much more than the photographic medium alone. I’m no longer fixated on the idea of becoming ‘a specific kind of photographer’. And in the end, what I would like to aim for are these 3 things:
- Becoming financially independent
- Spending more time with the ones whom I love
- Having the time and freedom to explore creative expression the way that feels right for me
I guess sometimes it helps to embrace doubts and change.