“Why is art beautiful? Because it’s useless.

Why is life ugly? Because it’s all ends and purposes and intentions.”

-Fernando Pessoa

For as long as I can remember, I'd always struggled to choose between the worlds: the straightforward path to conventional success, and a more uncertain one in pursuit of creativity. For as long as possible, I balanced these; in college studying commerce to have “practical skills,” while simultaneously pursuing vocal performance to honor my innate singing abilities and creativity.

Had I realized that UX does not pit these worlds against one another, but combines the best principles from each, I could have skipped years of struggling to choose between the two and simply become a UX designer.

In a typical semester of me overloading myself with credits to accommodate both sides of my studies, I enrolled in what I now attribute to be the favorite class I took during my UVA career; design thinking.

I quickly absorbed the idea of a user-centric approach to products and services; the bedrock principle of designing.

I was disappointed I had not discovered this class earlier in my undergraduate career. I was already in my 3rd year of college, and the rest of my academics were laid out before me for my path to graduation.

Fast forward through my master’s program in business, my first couple corporate positions — "practicality" winning over creativity each time — and one global pandemic, I seized the opportunity to make a career shift.

Revisiting this interest through reading design bibles like “The Design of Everyday Things,” “Don’t Make Me Think,” and “Creative Confidence,” as well as interviewing anyone in my network involved with user design, my fascination grew into a formal study, and ultimately a professional practice.

You can now find me sketching with pen and paper to promote my habit for art, reading the latest UX studies to hone my research practices, and designing mockups in Figma, marrying the two, to constantly better my approach to design.