Blogging is something that many people consider to be imperative to building a good reputation in the design world of today. Yes, I do agree with this. However, I am of the opinion that a blog one is instructed to keep is an inconvenience and a stress-point more than anything, at least in my case.
I was first introduced to the wonderful[sarcasm] world of school-assigned blogging in my grade nine year—in the grade ten business class I took. My teacher at the time was very adamant that everyone in the class would all find it very enjoyable.
I thought it was terrifying.
I don’t remember the outcome of that assignment, but I do remember it made me hyperventilate quietly in the back of the room and feel like throwing up.
Here I was, a measly 14-year-old who wasn’t aware of myself as a person yet, and I had no idea why this prospect scared me so much when playing RuneScape under a username didn’t worry me at all and when I was so far from scared of almost anything else in general. Wary, perhaps, and cautious, but not scared. Now that I’m four years wiser and much more self-aware, though, I understand.
It’s because I’m paranoid.
If we fast-forward by four years to first-year college and jump into my first-semester communications class, we run up against another incident of my being instructed to blog for marks. By this time, I understood exactly why I was getting that nauseated, spine-crawling feeling.
It’s because I’m paranoid. My paranoia tells me that someone from the public will find this blog, this blog where I’m being forced to write what has no real thought involved and is on subjects that I would never naturally pursue, and equate it to my actual personality. I’m absolutely terrified of being perceived as a juvenile person by potential employers, of being seen as someone who is anything but who I really am. I’m scared my future reputation will be thoroughly tarnished by these mandatory assignments that I’m forced to comply with if I want the marks (which, because of my perfectionist compulsions, I do). Someone could find this blog when I’m an established designer and see the things I’ve been forced to write about… And they could apply that to me at the present time.
“Oh, hey they wrote about this that one time. Haha, who in their right mind would do that? Wow, I am so not hiring them.”
— Constructs of my paranoia manifesting as potential employers.
At least they use the correct pronouns for me.
But that’s not even getting into the possibilities my paranoid mind cooks up of someone unsavory tracing my very distinctive name to find me in real life. Or of my grandmother somehow finding my blog and discovering—before it’s safe for me to be outed—that I am not the person she thinks I am. I realize that these possibilities are incredibly slim, but one cannot tell that to one’s own paranoia and actually get anywhere.
But back to the story. By the time first semester was over, I was hoping and praying that, in the next semester, I would be able to get confirmation that I would not longer require this incredibly stressful blog so I could get rid of it. But no, of course not; I had to keep the blog around for another semester to use in my typography class as well. At least this time I had one blog post I knew ahead of time that I would probably actually care about (the one on the subject of support for the capital Eszett character), but I had not nearly enough room to write and it ended up feeling awfully stinted and not quite like myself. (What is it with you teachers and your obscenely short word limits?)
I have a freer word limit on this final blog assignment for the semester; it thus sounds far more like I do naturally, tone- and vocabulary-wise. Look at me, getting all meta. Yes, hello, what is the fourth wall? The fourth wall does not exist in blogging. The fourth wall will not protect you.
There are a good many things that this blog was supposed to do for me in this particular class. I was already quite stellar at most of the things where improvement was suggested as something that would happen, and no improvement happened because there wasn’t actually room for it with me. Mostly, all the assignment did that was useful to me was prompt me to learn about the capital Eszett issue, which I have henceforth become quite passionate about. Beyond that, though, the only thing it accomplished was stressing me out.
The deadlines also did not help. When I enjoy a blog, when it’s really my blog and not a school-mandated blog, I do it more frequently and with far more eagerness and passion than I’ve ever even tried to show for this assignment. When there’s a deadline on a blog entry, especially when it comes alongside an assigned subject, it just makes me not want to do it—because it’s forced, it’s not natural, and it’s not me. And also, it’s terrifying.
I’m already planning to delete all the posts on this blog after this last one is marked so that I don’t have to fret about someone reading them over the Summer. I just wish I knew whether or not I can delete the entire blog itself as well.
I will continue blogging, but it definitely won’t be for school purposes. I’ll stay in practice by writing on Tumblr under my pen name about things I have no restriction on as far as subject or vocabulary. Then, once I’m an SRGD, I’ll get back into blogging for design on my own terms.