The Power of Why

My entire life changed because of one small question.

Flashback to my sophomore year: I was studying biomedical engineering and to be concise, I was pretty miserable. My coursework was becoming a drag and I was not looking forward to my professional future. I decided to take a few art classes to lighten my spirits and break up some of my heavier coursework. It was in one of these classes that I learned one of the most valuable lessons that I have carried with me ever since.

During my fall semester pottery class, one of our assignments was to bring in a picture of our favorite piece of pottery. We all went around and shared our pieces, the artists and other relevant information.  Then our professor asked us: “Why do you like it?” He went on to explain, “It doesn’t matter what you like or what you believe. You can like anything, good or bad, but you must know why you feel that way to validate it. Asking the why gives you a deeper level of understanding even though it can lead to tough answers.”

This lesson resonated with me; Why became a theme for the rest of my semester. I started to question everything, especially my future and chosen career path. I learned that creativity is an innate part of me, and to be happy I needed to nourish and challenge myself. I knew in my heart I had to make a change, so I took some time off, asked some more why and eventually found my passion–advertising and graphic design. It was such a stereotypical “Aha!” moment. The communications field encompassed my interests of design, social science, and business in the most perfect way. I returned to Penn State as an advertising major, joined as many industry-related organizations as I could and started self-teaching myself design software.

I was busier in my communication coursework than I had been in engineering, but the amazing part was that it didn’t matter – I loved every second of it. I felt so great to work hard towards something I really wanted, which is what I was missing before.

During my time this summer at Bravo Group, I will continue to ask why: in my design work, in client relations, in my communications, in my networking and everywhere else Bravo takes me. By asking these questions, I hope to develop my purpose in the professional world. So… Bravo, what is your why?

Sarah Kostyal | Harrisburg Office

Image: Shutterstock

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