I was asked to write a short essay by the Ian Somerhalder foundation to give out in a booklet for kids. I believe most of these thoughts can be attributed to a conversation I had with Brett Van Zuiden a year ago. Below is what I wrote:
What do you wish someone had told you as a kid?
Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always loved creating and inventing things. Whether it was something physical like a lego city or toy racecar, to something intangible, like a game with made-up rules to play with the kids around the block.
I especially loved watching other people play with my creations. Some of my proudest creations were the little flash games I made, that my friends and I squander hours of our time playing and the jewelry I got to make and give away. The best interactions were when I could ask someone what they thought of what I had created without them knowing I was the creator. I live for this honest feedback.
What I wish someone had told me as a young kid was that the field I was interested and excited about was product design. I had always assumed my primary focus would be computer science, since those were the types of products I enjoyed interacting with the most. As it turns out, software is an awesome place to learn product design skills. Where else can you live-edit your product and see what your users think?
I think if I had articulated a little bit better what I was excited to work on at a younger age, I would have known what to study at school. As it turns out, one of my favorite classes senior year had nothing to do with STEM, instead it was my arts class. I took a small-metals class where I got to make products, i.e. jewelry, by hand.
I guess my advice is, talk about what you want to be doing to those older to you. They might point you to taking a class or reading a book you wouldn’t expect. Like making jewelry.