Posts in Life
"I'm not going home. Not really."

I remember opening up my first Harry Potter book in the backseat of the Corsica, after making my parents drive me to Barnes & Noble just so I could get the book every person in the universe was talking about. I was admittedly skeptical (because I liked to be overly original...a budding hipster even then), but I can still remember the feeling I had reading the first chapter in the car—it was like a whole new world had opened up just for me.

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Coming on the heels of graduation, I find myself reflecting perhaps a bit more than usual this new year. I mean honestly I feel like all I’m doing is feeling things these days. Gross.

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LifeMaren NelsonComment
Master Maren.

I always knew I wanted to get a master’s degree, but for the longest time I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study. I tried a lot of subjects on for size, most of which logically aligned with my previous degrees or career choices, but none of them stuck. It wasn’t until I fell into design and applied to MCAD’s Post-Baccalaureate Certificate program that I realized “designer” was the piece of myself I had been missing. Looking back, design and design thinking have played a role in almost every job or project I have taken on—I just never knew to call it that. It may have taken years for me to figure that out, and it may have been frustrating and scary to change directions in mid-air, but I did it and it is still one of the bravest things I think I’ve ever done.

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"The Noble Designer"

As a nonprofit designer, I often feel as though I design on an island. Surrounded by a sea of for-profit creators, I watch as their branding projects and high-value accounts push their careers forward, delivering the same type of content over and over again in an echo-chamber of cubicles. Most of those designers, working in a world of decks and budget line items at least 3x higher than my annual pay, are ignorant to the amazing work being done on little islands like mine where resources and admiration are scarce, but skill is high and the hustle is real.

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That's a wrap!

Two years ago, I decided to change up my life in unexpected ways and went back to school. Little did I know just how much would change in that time. Goals and expectations for the future, lifestyles and personal capacity, my own skills and sense of self all look so different now than when I started in 2015. To say I’ve grown a lot would be an understatement.

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Falling into design.

While working in nonprofits, it is pretty common to inadvertently take on tasks that need to get done and learn how to do them on the fly. When I was hired at Wallin Education Partners, I worked in program development and management but was frustrated by the lack of branding and quality promotions across the organization.

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