In a call for inspiring words for Graphic Design students, I felt compelled to share my experience and a few words that will (hopefully) create encouragement:
This is one of the only jobs that requires passion.
At the risk of sounding like a cliche motivational poster: Your success is measured by how far you want to go, and how much you're willing to work to get it. Your passion, your drive, and your attitude will determine your altitude in this field. It's not enough just to like or even love design - you have to have a fire inside you that drives you to create.
In a discussion with a colleague, I was reminded how I got through the program. In my experience before graphic design, I bounced around, working in various crummy minimum wage jobs, in some less-than-favourable locations, and in the end, I had a rotten job at a steel factory. That was it. The catalyst which drove me to get myself together and start treating myself with WORTH. But it didn't come easy - I worked hard... harder than I had in a very long time. There is nothing more effective in lighting a fire than experiencing the alternative.
If you have strong passion for this work, you will be successful. Period. It takes time - the Sistine Chapel wasn't painted in one day. Give yourself the opportunity to fail, and you will improve. You have coaches to support and guide you (an integral reason for my success, and inspiration to pursue teaching), and they will help you reach your goals. Don't give up - the effort is worth it. You have a potential for greatness.. find what lights that fire, and fuel it.
Winner of the "Submit a Quote" custom illustration