The School of Hard Knocks

Billy Frazier
3 min readNov 3, 2021

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As my college career was winding down, things started to get a little crazy.

Like most senior design students, I was frantically finishing my capstone project, which I barely survived thanks to way too many Red Bull-fueled overnighters, a few minor emergencies from dull X-ACTO knives, and an endless sea of poster board.

It was during this madness that I somehow made one of the smartest decisions of my life (educationally speaking) — I chose to stay an extra semester in order to finish a business minor.

A few of my design peers suffering from extreme senioritis thought I was clinically insane. Why the hell would I want to stay even longer just to take a few business classes?

Well, since my plan was to freelance full-time right out of college, I needed a crash course in the world of business.

Fortunately for me, this gamble paid off. These intro-level classes gave me the vocabulary I needed to get started which made my transition into the real world that much easier.

Once I graduated, I did what most desperate millennials do — I moved back home with my parents.¹ As tough as it was, I learned more in that following year than my entire four and a half years in college.²

While getting started, I learned how to whip up proposals, piece together my own branding process, and promote myself online, all while finding and completing more and more client work.

In hindsight, I realized none of these things were ever mentioned during school.³ Instead, we were “taught” how to use Photoshop and how we should create our own logo.⁴

I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but instead of wasting hours on these topics in the classroom, it only takes a few minutes to go home, type them into YouTube, and find hundreds of tutorials to follow. Teachers should be teaching the hard stuff that you can’t easily find online.

For example, I’m a firm believer that colleges should teach design students (hell, all students for that matter) how to network in today’s world. Gone are the days where you spent way too long designing your own business cards and then wasted even more time handing all of them out.

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Billy Frazier

Senior experience designer, writer, and leader who’s fumbling forward through a creative career while helping others do the same.