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Apr 05, 2023
My Journey from Civil Engineering to Graphic Design: Finding My True Passion
In the beginning
As a civil engineering graduate, I thought I had my life all figured out. Growing up, I always had a fascination with art and design. I loved everything about it - the colors, the textures, and the endless possibilities of creativity, but I believed that pursuing a degree in engineering was the responsible and practical thing to do. Little did I know that the journey ahead would be filled with struggle and hardships.
During my six years in college, I faced numerous challenges. The first two years were already difficult for me. I struggled to keep up with my studies, and I felt like I didn't belong. However, I found solace in my friends who supported me and encouraged me to keep going.
Over time, I started to enjoy my college life more, and the last four years were rough but fulfilling. I was able to find a balance between my studies and my passion for graphic design. I would often work on my designs late at night after studying for exams or working on projects. Despite the lack of sleep, I found joy in creating something beautiful.
When the pandemic hit and my graduation was put on hold, I felt uncertain about my future. However, a job offer as an engineering practitioner provided some stability. I graduated from college. I took the job, thinking it would be a good way to gain experience and earn a living. But it didn't take long before I realized that the job wasn't for me. I felt drained and unhappy every day, and I couldn't see myself doing it for the rest of my life.
But even while working, I continued doing freelance work as a graphic designer. I took on various projects, from designing logos to creating posters and brochures. It was then that I realized that graphic design was not just a hobby for me - it was my passion, my calling.
The journey
Eventually, I made the brave decision to leave my engineering job and pursue my passion for the arts. It was a difficult decision, but I knew deep down that it was the right one. I started looking for jobs in the graphic design industry, and after a few months, I found one that suited my skills and experience. I was hired as a marketing staff in a real estate company.
Yet, my journey didn't stop there. I experienced a career crisis again and thought about going back to engineering. So, I flew to Cebu and reviewed for the Civil Engineering board exam for six months. It was a grueling process, trying to understand lessons, attending and taking review exams, and being away from my support system, my family. I suffered every day trying to survive, but I did my best. However, despite my efforts, I failed the exam.
It was a tough blow, and I felt lost and devastated. I started to question my decisions and my abilities. Was I not meant to be an engineer? Did I waste six years of my life pursuing the wrong degree? I felt like a failure, and it was a dark time for me. But I didn't let it define me. Instead, I decided to take the Master Plumber board exam to prove to myself that I could succeed. I studied for three months, pouring my heart and soul into my preparations. I was determined to redeem myself from my past failures.
However, once again, I failed. It was a painful realization, but it was also a turning point for me. I realized that I needed to fully pursue what I loved - graphic design. I needed to follow my heart and do what makes me truly happy.
Finding the path
Now, I am a full-time information officer, graphic and layout designer in a government organization that focuses on the construction arm of the government. I am still exposed to civil engineering, but not to the extent that I was before. 
In the future, I may consider taking the board exam again. I don’t know. Who knows what lies ahead? But for now, I'm content and fulfilled with my current career as a graphic and layout designer. It's where my passion and talents lie, and it's where I feel like I can make the most significant impact.
I no longer feel like I'm just existing and getting by every day. I wake up every morning excited to go to work, knowing that I'm doing something that I love and something that makes a difference.
I've come to realize that the Confucius quote, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life," is true. It's not about the prestige of the job or the salary you receive, but it's about doing something that gives you a sense of purpose and fulfillment. It's about finding what you're passionate about and pursuing it relentlessly. When you're doing something you love, it never feels like work, and you're more likely to excel at it.
I used to worry about how others perceived my career choice, thinking that graphic design was not as essential as civil engineering. But I've learned that every job is essential in its way, and it's not about the job title, but about how you contribute to society.
I'm grateful for my civil engineering degree, as it has equipped me with a valuable skill set that I can use in my current job. My background in civil engineering gives me a unique perspective on the construction projects I'm involved in, and it helps me communicate better with my colleagues.
This is not a success story. My journey is far from over, and I know that there will be challenges along the way. But one thing's for sure, I'll continue to pursue what makes me happy and fulfilled. I've come to realize that the journey is just as important as the destination, and I'm excited to see where it takes me.