ANNA PENG

What’s an A For?

Getting an A is easy. All you have to do is go to the rubric and follow what it says under the “80-100” section. There’s no guesswork, because the expectations are laid out for you. You’re either following them or you’re not.

In our culture, being an A student means you’re smart, you’re good at school. It means you’re intellectually gifted, great at what you do, and have a shiny path ahead of you. Your peers expect you’ll do great things. 

I was an A student for the most part of my academic journey, but I’ve got to say that there’s nothing extraordinary about being able to follow what somebody else wrote out for you. We’re simply doing what we were told to do. We’re good at following the rules.

The real part of school comes in when you get teachers who’d rather have you learn rather than follow a rubric. 

When you’re rewarded for finding out how things work on your own terms, when you’re encouraged to do as much as you can for yourself (not the rubric), you’re no longer chasing grades.


They Like Me, They Like Me Not

This one is about receiving feedback.

After months of gruelling hard work, you finally decide to share it somewhere public. Most feedback was stuff you wanted to hear, and the other bits kept you up all night. And for the next 48 hours to two weeks, there was nothing else waiting on the back of your mind, because what if it was true? What if all this time and effort you put into something wasn’t made for you?

The critics (including yourself) will make you question your art. They’re the bodies of resistance whose job is to tell you, no. No you’re not made for this, you’d best go find something else to do.

Fortunately, we’re not out here trying to please the critics, because they can care less about your work and can live without it, clearly. 

Our goal is to find out who it’s for and give it to them, because they need it.

So not everybody is going to like you, not everybody is going to like your work. We can’t spend our time catering to those it wasn’t made for. 

Listen wisely.


Consistency

Not only a term we use in baking and cooking, but also when building up useful habits we want to keep.

If we’re consistently on time for important meetings, we show the other person we’re respectful of their time.

If we actively devote 15 minutes a day to learn things we’re unfamiliar with, we become well versed in seeing different points of view. 

If we regularly try new technical exercises on Illustrator, we become braver and faster in our technical work. The more consistent we are, the more likely it is rooted in our behaviour, and it’s up to us to choose if this is the type of consistency we want to see.

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