Throughout my college years I struggled immensely with balancing my school life and my photography passion. One of the reasons was certainly that school took up most of my day, but that is not the only reason why I struggled. To me school took up so much of my mental space that it actually limited my creativity and my lust for exploring new photography. That is not to say that I do not hold some blame for that limitation of creativity. While the way college works in Denmark does make you focus on school a lot I also made it worse by creating standards in my head that I needed to oblige to.
The act of balancing school and passion
While the way college works in Denmark does make you focus on school a lot I also made it worse by creating standards in my head that I needed to oblige to.
A lot of young people struggle with finding the perfect medium ground between wanting to perform at the highest level in school while also keeping the things that actually makes them happy in their lives. I experienced a weird paradox. I wanted to pour all my time into other activities than school, but I also felt a certain pressure from within, but also from the outside to do good in school. It is easy to feel like a failure in school even if you do a normal good job. The way it is setup is to make you feel like you can always achieve more.
The way it is setup is to make you feel like you can always achieve more.
This unnerving feeling of always feeling like there is more that you could have done made me crazy on more than one occasion. It almost led me to dropping out because I had a strong feeling of completely wasting my time on things I did not actually care about one bit. I have graduated from college with a feeling that what I learned about the most is how to do work the specific way the school wants me to do it. My creativity was quite literally being put out by specific boxes that needed to be filled in each assignment. Not much room for thinking outside the box.
My creativity was quite literally being put out by specific boxes that needed to be filled in each assignment.
So does that mean I actually wasted 3 years of my life? Most definitely not. While most of what I learned in school I still find irrelevant to this day I also had a lot of doors opened for me. First and foremost I got some lifelong friends with whom I have shared some of my most precious moments with. I also had a teacher that fully supported my photography and opened the eyes of the front office to my skills. She bought some of my photos and I am grateful for her belief as she gave me a belief in myself when I was completely caught up in schoolwork. The school itself also enabled me to show my work in an exhibition and I currently have my pictures as tapestry in five different rooms. Something I could have never dreamt of if it was not for their love of the arts.
The school itself also enabled me to show my work in an exhibition and I currently have my pictures as tapestry in five different rooms.
I think for the most part what I really struggled with was time management and where to put my efforts. The school and my teachers did support my photography fully so it is really my own fault that I got caught up in things that I did not care about. I should have had the confidence to say that “this is what I am really passionate about so this is what I am going to do”. But this is something I still struggle with now that I work full time. It is a difficult balancing act and I hope that maybe one day I will figure it out or that I will not have to as it is my full time job.