The continuous tick-tock that you are syncing with, rushing into your day, reaching towards a goal, without even time to take a break. Are you doing it for yourself? The time and effort you’re investing, is it your passion that you’re following? Or just the usual norm that people follow in and now you’ve joined the herd?
Hi, I’m Jashmin Nakarmi, a small girl from Kathmandu, Nepal and this is my story.
It has been my intent to come to the United States ever since I was in Grade 4.
Back then, going to the U.S. was a big deal. Every young mind wanted to go to the States for purposes of education or work. Watching those glamorous movies, and hearing the thoughts that shouted from those TV screens, it became my dream to follow the herd and come to the U.S.
What excited me then? Who knows? I was a 10-year-old kid, comparing movies to reality. But as I grew older, that dream didn’t go away, instead, it became my goal. It was always in my head, “I’m going to go to the U.S. and be …” one too many things. Education was - and is - a huge priority for my family. Every parent wants their kid to be an ‘A’ student and have a proclaimed name and wealth. Career paths dignified for those requirements would be Doctor, Engineer, IT, and you get the point. But I wanted to be a Mathematician, Literary Genius, Radio-Jockey, News Anchor, Poet, and much more. I wasn’t clueless, I was just into many things.
Finally, after Grade-12 (which is a two-year college degree in Nepal) I applied for my Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications from four universities. I got accepted in all four but decided to go to Southeast Missouri State University.
My very first landing as I touched U.S. soil for the first time, I'm in the United States and I fall right onto my back. Literally. Not by looking at the huge city but at the entry point in the airport, while dragging my luggage through. When I stopped at a point, the weight of the luggage pulled me with it and I landed on the airport floor, sprawled flat out.
Was this the earth or greater force telling me “don’t go forward”? Who knows?
Great university, warm people, but I figured out soon that the field wasn’t the right choice for me. I wasn’t feeling that drive or passion to rush through my life or miss lunch for it.
After a semester, financial measures pushed me to transfer to St. Cloud State University. Here’s where I first recognized my passion. A very good friend of mine had his portfolio review at the Kiehle Visual Arts Center. It was 12:30 am and we were a group of six helping him put up his best work in the gallery. The ambiance ... I can’t explain it to you, or how exhilarating it was for me at the time.
I used to sketch and paint back home but it was just a hobby, one I would’ve never considered a profession back home. But here I was, in the middle of the night, and the artwork, the paintings, photographs, even the smell of that old building was screaming in my head, “this is where you belong”.
And that’s how I entered this field. Working on screen again was something I had never imagined. But I fell in love with it. The professors at St. Cloud State helped me to find myself in my work. This is something I was willing to skip a meal or lose sleep over. I was competitively working for the degree, all the while knowing this is going to be a little bit of a difficult path.
As an international student, there are limitations you carry with your status and have to go through different processes and paperwork within a tight time frame. On May 2017, I graduated, and the actual quest for a career began. I have a year to use my work permit towards an internship and one more additional year towards achieving a full-time position at a company that would want to sponsor me within that same year.
Hello, life of an international student. The first couple of months after graduation I wasn’t even landing any interviews. Countless informational interviews, LinkedIn messages, constant portfolio updates, and endless applications. APPLY! APPLY! APPLY!
Finally, I was offered an internship at Pentair in St. Paul. Great in-house position, great leaders, and I learned a lot. They extended three more months but I couldn’t land a full-time gig. Then, I was in the market again.
A New Home
Finally, after all those times of socializing, I was called in for an interview by the Art Director at Leighton Interactive at the time, Clare Richards. I had met this amazing, bomb-of-energy a couple of times for informational interviews and while volunteering and through student shows. Immediately, I was offered a part-time graphic design position for three months. I couldn’t be more excited. I was going to work at an agency. I knew after searching and experiencing for a short time that agency life is where I want to be. Finally, my passion drove me to achieve my dream and I became part of the team full-time in April as a graphic designer.
It’s not as easy every time, but that’s the joy in it. When you spend all your might to achieve something, the failures and hurdles make you appreciate the glory even more. Follow your passion. Forget the norm. Accept the challenges. Praise the failures.