I remember the first day at University, I was 18 and coming straight out of high school. The stress of making major life decisions was slowly creeping up on me – I was clueless yet enthusiastic. That first year of college changed a lot of my opinions and thoughts about many of life’s different mechanisms and workings. The more I learned and the more I questioned, the better I felt – I was finally finding myself, figuring out what I enjoy doing in life, most importantly, what I, as a human being, can do for other human beings in this world.
I soon found an internship for a local NGO where I was in charge of their visuals and updating website, including photography and some copy writing. During this period, I learned a lot of the programs of the Adobe Suite – I would spend nights studying them, watching tutorials, learning techniques etc. I was soon hired as the NGO’s Media Consultant, where my responsibilities would increase dramatically.
I felt nervous accepting the offer, thinking I was still too much of a newbie to handle the work. I was always afraid of people criticizing my work and being humiliated or whatever. I remember having this mindset for quite a while during my university studies, where I think it had a bitter sweet effect overall – on the one hand it would push me to always learn and improve my work, whereas on the other it would limit my overall creativity and ability to take risks and learn from them.
Mid-way during my studies I decided to take one year off from college to work as a full time graphic designer for a local firm in Prishtina. I learned a lot during this year, not only in design, but also general management and the work norms of the industry. I left this position optimistic about further exploring, learning, and building upon what I would refer to as my personal wealth of knowledge.
Winning the Ipko Foundation Scholarship allowed me to continue growing by lessening the financial burden of tuition payments. To be honest, I was a little skeptical about applying – but I did apply. This is essentially what I would like anyone reading this to take away. I remember my brother telling me a few months back: “if you don’t open your mouth no one will feed you,” and this is one of the best revelations I have experienced in my life. Modesty can, and will, take you a very long way, but if you have an idea, something to say, something to do – as my friends from the sporting goods industry would say – just do it!
I am currently working on a few projects, one of which I am hoping will have a positive effect on the tourism industry in Kosovo (for this I will write in a future post.) I hope that the youth in Kosovo continue taking the wonderful initiatives I am seeing every day and I urge everyone to continue working on things that matter to them. I am a firm believer of the famous “if you love your job you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”
Get out there and make today count!
by Etrit Haxhiu