What I want to be when I grow up.

What I want to be when I grow up.

By Catalina Mendoza: It is very common with little kids to grow up and want to be just like mom and dad. Some want to be a doctor just like dad, or a cop just like mom.  Growing up, I never felt the desire to follow in my parent’s footsteps.  My mom is the president, founder and owner of an interior design business in Indianapolis.  My dad worked at a tree nursery until the business shut down toward the end of 2011.  It turned out for the better because at that time his father fell very ill and was in need of my dad’s continuous care. Up until this summer I never knew what I wanted to study in college. My options ranged from nursing and physical therapy to fashion merchandising and culinary school. Choosing what I wanted to study for the next four years and do for the rest of my life is not something that came easy to me or to many other eighteen year olds. When choosing a major so young it is explainable that 50 percent of those who do declare a major, change majors. The end of my senior year, when everyone was choosing their major, I felt pressure to choose mine also.  I went for the cliché interior design major because my mom is an interior designer and I know what they do and thought I might as well try.  Then I decided to accept the offer to work in my mom’s office 3 days a week filing samples and creating excel sheets. I was able to sit in on “lunch and learns” and listen to representatives from furniture companies and other companies inform us about their company and new products. I also worked with another intern, Madelyn, who was going to be a senior at Indiana University.  Madelyn and I would work together to complete these tasks.  I helped my mom with a few projects too. We spent morning’s together designing a church floor for our own parish community at St. Mark Catholic Church on the south side of Indianapolis and met with contractors.  My relationship with my mom has not always been the best for we don’t always agree but at the end of the day I couldn’t ask for a better mom. Occasionally, my mom and I would order lunch or go to lunch with a few other associates in the office.  One day, the summer was coming to an end, my mom and I and three others, Lee, Donna and Madelyn went out for lunch. We walked two blocks down the street to a place called “Tavern on South”, where they have the best sweet potato fries.  While eating, conversation about mine and Madelyn’s college journey was a topic of discussion.  Everyone was so excited to see me going to college to do what my mom loves to do.  I always hear things like, “Oh, of course, you’ll be good at that” and “Going to take after your mom, huh?” from outsiders, but at lunch with these ladies everything was different.  The moment Lee asked me; “What kind of things have you learned this summer that you think can help you next year?”, I wasn’t ready to answer that question.  Lee is one of my role models.  Her soft spoken personality does not take away from her amazing ability as an interior designer.  Her professional traits as an interior designer are those of a leader, hard worker, and always wanting to do better.  My initial reaction was that everything would help me in my classes throughout my four years as an interior design student at some point.  As we walked back to the office I started to think, what kind of things would be most beneficial, maybe exposure to Auto CAD which is a computer program for designers?  Or was it filing away samples and becoming aware of the many resources and venders who support the industry?  In reality, everything really will help me and the exposure to the environment was the most important part. Having the opportunity and time to be around others who love what they do made me fall in love with the career as I know it.  That day I was positive about what my future held for me, to grow up to be an interior designer like my mom.

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