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2013 Spring Issue 6 (May 17, 2013)

I Am a Designer

May 17, 2013
By Stuart Urback

For my last Carletonian article, I will attempt to bookend my time at Carleton by responding to the first writing I ever did for Carleton, my application.  The first ever sentence I wrote for Carleton in my application letter was “I am a physicist.” 

Now I’m graduating as a history major with a focus on games and a love for design… oops?  One of the ways I think about life is that your opinions and beliefs should be like derivatives.  From instance to instance they are concrete and definable, but they might change slightly the next minute.  So for my final article I graphed myself. I figure if I can’t be conceited once while writing an opinion column, why bother?

Coming in as a Freshman, I thought I was going to be a physicist with an artsy pastime.  The graph is a throwback to a lost future where I would have been doing real math and using real graphs.  The path I took at Carleton was unexpected; though I guess that was to be expected.  I have a fairly large anxiety problem.  I suppose it’s not something I should declare publicly (there goes running for POTUS…) but I think it’s something worth sharing.

You see, people scare me.  Not in an aggressive sort of way, but in a high schooler asking a crush to prom type of situation.  (Not that I want to ask everyone I meet out to Prom…) Whenever I talk to someone I haven’t met or someone I don’t know well I tend to get really nervous, which I have been informed comes off as sounding like I’m grumpy or angry.  Combine that with the occasional debilitating panic attacks and getting involved in any form of Community at Carleton felt incredibly nerve wracking, painful, and downright scary.  This was only compounded by the fact that most everyone at Carleton is so nice.  I felt foolish.  Heading into sophomore and junior years were incredibly challenging.  I had low self confidence.  That was when I started writing for the Carletonian.

When I started writing for the Carletonian it changed my relationship with the college.  I found a voice and a way I could talk to the community.  And the feedback has been incredibly positive.  There are two stories that come to mind.  The first is a Freshman who recognized me because he read my article as a prospie and said he thought it was a really cool article.  The second was a person who opened the door to the libe for me as I was lugging books for comps around.  When she saw me she asked if I was Stuart because she recognized me from my Carletonian articles.  These times (and others) might be small but they have meant the world to me.

That’s part of the reason I want to be a designer.  Designers are like the translators of the 21st century; they communicate ideas between specialists and other people (think about the communication between a doctor and an engineer or a car owner and a car company).  Designers do this through images, writing, and interactive media they create.  Design has the potential to help empower a wide range of people; I want to be a part of that.  Writing for the Carletonian has given me the chance to share that love of design, games, education, (and apparently robots) with a wider audience and given me the confidence that those interests really do have broader applicability.   

While The Carletonian certainly isn’t the only reason I can graduate with my head held high, it is a significant part of it.  I hope that these articles have been a small repayment of that kindness.  Thank you all, so very much.

I am a designer, and I plan on making damn sure the world knows it.

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