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8 Days on How to Get Started: Dedicate Yourself to Learning, Not School

I'm not talking about school.


If I'm honest, I think our school system is archaic, outdated, and forces us to conform to the norms that 'society' places on us. I think there is a giant mismatch between what we're taught in school and what is actually happening in the real world.


I'm talking about exploring.


I'm talking about picking something that interests you, going to the library, and flipping through/reading books on the subject. I'm talking about traveling to a place to learn more about a subject, to experience something firsthand, to searching for groups on Facebook that are dedicated to the subject that piques your interest.


Also, getting accustomed to the word 'lifetime.' When you decide to dedicate yourself to learning, make sure to fix your mind on it being for a lifetime. It makes a huge difference in how you approach learning. You don't feel this intensity like with school where you're supposed to know an entire subject by the end of three months. That's never made sense to me, and why I think our school system is majorly flawed.


They expect us to shove our brains with tons of info, but they're not teaching us to absorb it for the long run. They're not teaching us that we have a lifetime to get deeper into a subject. And because we're not being taught that, it feels like a completely new experience and approach when we decide to dedicate ourselves to something for a lifetime.


I knew that going into jewelry, that this was going to be for the rest of my life. Even if it isn't, it lifted the pressure from the beginning that I had to cram all this technical knowledge into my brain all at once. Instead, I'm approaching it like I'm adding a little bit to my journey, that every collection is a chapter in my development as an artist, but that there's always room to learn more.


The other issue that I have with the school system and timing, is that it makes it harder for us to focus. I was so thoroughly confused as to what I wanted to do with my life in terms of a career, or to give my life some purpose, that I felt like I was stumbling through things. I kept changing my mind, which if you look at the big picture and how school is set up semester to semester, you go from one subject to another to another, and there isn't always a cohesion between the subjects.


I think it plays on you when you get out of the school system and start to really search for your career path. Some people are really lucky, can function perfectly well in that school system, and know exactly what they want. But for someone like me, and I know many others feel this way too, it's wildly confusing.


When I first decided to do jewelry full-time, I did all kinds of research to look at what was available for me. I didn't even know that there were jewelry schools worldwide that offered classes specifically in jewelry techniques. There were schools for gemology, there were schools for stone-cutting, there were people you could mentor with, the list goes on. Immediately, I saw that there was a world of possibility out there. I could go to museums and start viewing things through the eyes of a jeweler, I could travel anywhere around the world to learn more about the traditional jewelry crafts, I could read any book or do any research and find ways of relating it to jewelry.


When you start to view your art as a lifelong commitment to learning, the doors open up to many opportunities. Some people have asked me how I stay so inspired and how it's possible that I design so often, and this is the mindset that has pushed me into this direction.


That's all for today. Thanks so much for reading.

Take care,

Caitlin