Dropping Out of College

Dec 19, 2012

First of all, the name’s Thom. I’m a student by day and a passionate designer and front end developer by night. I’ve been studying ‘Communication & Multimedia Design’ for almost one and a half years now, and it’s safe to say that I learned a whole lot during this time.

I started learning HTML and CSS somewhere in 2008. A couple of years later, when I was 16, a friend of mine pointed me at a dutch version of a website similar to 99designs.com. The idea is that clients are able to organise a contest for designing a logo, website or whatever design-related thing. Designers are participating in this contest. The contest holder picks a winner when the contest’s deadline is reached. I had a great time learning the basics of Photoshop, learning to communicate with all sorts of different clients, and dealing with different projects. I started to improve my branding and design skills, and I managed to find a style I liked. I bought my first Mac with the money I won during that time. Though, most of the time clients picked other designs as winners. So, I was investing a lot of hours into contests without getting hardly any compensation. I was attending contests for a year or so when I found out about Dribbble.

I first followed a couple big names on Dribbble, and my interest for user interface design and web design was growing. I wanted to join in and receive some feedback on the work I made. So, I immediately uploaded some old work (logos at the time) after I managed to get invited to Dribbble. I made my very first User Interface just three months later and quickly found out that designing logos wasn’t the right thing for me anymore. I learned a lot, but it was time for something new. Designing User Interfaces and UI-elements was actually a great excuse to quit sleeping and to improve my design-skills. I’m incredibly happy with all the amazing feedback and support Dribbble offers. And I love all the people who helped me to improve myself as a designer. Dribbble is a huge source of inspiration and a great motivation to keep improving and to keep learning.

A passion was born, and I found more ways to learn. I made some freebies for Pixelbin and PremiumPixels, and I am selling Tumblr-themes on ThemeForest. I received many emails for client projects, and I founded some projects of my own. Most of which have yet to be announced. I was having a great time. Though, there was one major obstacle. It has proven to be difficult to combine client-work, projects and a full-time study.

It has been a hard decision, but I decided to drop out of college to pursue the career I enjoy. Thanks for helping me to make this decision. It’s a big step forward, and it’s going to be a great one. I’m glad to be back.

Props to those who inspire.

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Find Thom on Twitter and Dribbble.