[Community Corner💌] A Leap of Faith: Lessons from a Biology-Turned-Design Major 🌱🌀

By Erin Fang

✨ my journey as a creator started here: 

as a girl, you could always find me doodling these on the margins of my notebook paper.

when it was bad, i wouldn’t pay attention in class. it got me into trouble sometimes but i couldn’t help it, my mind would often be elsewhere.

& i’m sure many self-proclaimed creators can relate:

when you lose yourself in your work, it can be a fully immersive experience.

hi, my name is erin and i’m a type-a health nut who indulges in anything involving design, be it cameras, fashion, the english language, apps in the adobe suite, or oatmeal toppings. the reflective nature of quarantine brought me to the realization that i was in the wrong curriculum, so this semester i decided to switch from human biology to design and environmental analysis (DEA). however, finding strength in my new pursuit has been a time filled with stress and self-doubt, two feelings that can easily cause recession and creative burnout.

i understand that many creators find themselves in a sort of “apprehension before the leap of faith” situation before the discovery of any new passion. i imagine that many creators likewise find themselves at some sort of standstill or lull in their output at some point in their lives. 

how does one stay self-assured & motivated to honor their creative tendencies? how does one retain the confidence to take leaps and try new things?

🌎 step 1: exposure

when it comes to finding inspiration and trying new creative things, you have to follow your heart. okay... you might say... but what does that mean?

one of the things i’m grateful i did was taking a journalism class instead of the traditional english class to fulfill my literature requirement sophomore year of high school. so many years later, i’m thankful i did - trying something new rather than sticking to the main “safe” road led me to gain knowledge in a realm i never truly appreciated until then. in the class, there was also a brief project where we were tasked with designing a website to house our journalistic pieces. 

i remember when i started to lose myself in the process of building that website, perfecting the layout and graphics until it could be perfect in my eyes. from there, i became inspired to start a personal blogsite (which i’ve since discontinued but considered rekindling), and later used those skills to produce a website for a club campaign. if i hadn’t taken that class, i wouldn’t have discovered my knack for web design and passion for blogging. 

Graphic by Leone, CC Designer

i took a leap of faith this semester by taking a completely DEA (design and environmental analysis) course-load. at first, i was intimidated by my lack of experience in this new community. but as soon as i was given the work, i was comforted by how intuitive it felt, and worried no more once i was lost again in the feeling of flow. 

there might be something at cornell that does this for you as well. that little voice in your head that thinks “that would be cool” - trust it. whether it’s trying out for an acapella group, investing in equipment for a side hustle, taking off-kilter classes to discover your unique career path… try that thing out. 

make decisions that don’t make complete sense sometimes but feel right. what “made sense” to me previously was the comfort of following a fully-planned pre-med academic track. however, being in a studio where i produced creative work regularly and felt free to act on impactful ideas with the open-ended nature of design liberated me. though my ultimate career is uncertain, the work excites me and makes me feel alive.

💥 step 2: defeating doubt

it can be scary to jump into fields you have a feeling are right for you. the key is realizing this: everybody is on their own journey with their own timelines. people come from different demographic background environments in which their skills may simply have been earlier or more encouraged. remembering that where you come from makes your current situation and knowledge-base completely sensible, safe and healthy relative to your own life is a great way to stay self-assured. your pace will only quicken with time as you gain experience and, consequently, confidence. 

defeating doubt thus boils down to constant experimentation and learning. for me, learning how to make youtube videos or how to use photoshop came from watching endless tutorials on tricks from the pros, then trying things out on my own - i’m still trying to find my personal style. 

at the end of the day, stay in touch with your creative desires. let the noise of daily life go and seek out activities that (you know or feel might) bring you into flow. take your leap of faith, then practice consistently given any opportunity. and do it all because you want to

x erin


Erin Fang

Erin is a sophomore who enjoys drawing and capturing moments on photo + film. She's a designer driven by the desire to improve human well-being, and likes to embrace uncertainty by cooking without a recipe.


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