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BACKGROUND:  THE JOURNEY
 

Every new day holds a promise of new opportunity. We can change our lives and reinvent ourselves, if only we are willing to put forth the effort. This is the story of my journey and how I completely changed my life.

My name is Deena Alansky, and my major is Multimedia and Web Design. Two and a half years ago, at the age of 38, I decided to change my career.

I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1983, and studied at Carlow College for 2 years. But this was long before the computer revolution, and I NEVER LEARNED HOW TO USE A COMPUTER!!!

But, after 17 years in the child care profession, I knew I needed a new direction AND I knew it would require new skills. So, in the fall of 1999, I enrolled at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

NEVER BEFORE IN MY LIFE have I worked so hard and faced so many new challenges as I have since I began at the Art Institute!!!

And never before in my life have I found something THIS EXCITING and REWARDING and FUN as the field of MULTIMEDIA and WEB DESIGN!

It takes everything I love to do and combines it together into one field of study. Art, Design, Photography, Video, Music, and Animation...it's ALL there...in Multimedia and Web Design! To say I love my major would be an understatement!

Sometimes people wouldn't believe me when I said I was a student at Art Institute of Pittsburgh. They would say, "But your hair's not GREEN...or BLUE...or PINK! And where are the tattoos and body piercings?" I would just laugh and say that I'm not your TYPICAL AIP student, but that we do come in all shapes and sizes!!! Even a middle-aged former nanny!

I think I was in shock my ENTIRE first quarter of school! I felt lost and confused in this new world of technology! I kept asking myself, "What on earth are you doing here? Why aren't you still a nanny? What were you THINKING going back to school??" I struggled, I studied, and I cried a lot! Not necessarily in that order!

But, because I did not yet have my own computer at home, I was forced to do all my work in the school's computer labs. THAT turned out to be a BLESSING IN DISGUISE, since it gave me the opportunity to meet my fellow students and ask for help!

At first, I wasn't sure how the students would react to me, since I'm old enough to be their mother! Would they wonder, "Why is this crazy old lady in school?" Would they accept me?

Well, lucky for me, I'm an EXTROVERT! So, I did not hesitate to introduce myself and ask for help! I soon discovered that AIP students are VERY accepting of differences. Even differences in age! I quickly made new friends, and that turned out to be the greatest Godsend for me!

THE STUDENTS at Art Institute of Pittsburgh are some of the smartest, kindest, and most generous people I have ever known in my life! These young people have taken time away from their OWN PROJECTS to help ME, a total stranger, in the computer lab! And my friends and fellow classmates have continued to help me every step of the way! I never would have made it this far without their help! And I will be forever grateful!

It's been a privilege to go to school with such a fine group of young people, who I am proud to call my friends!

So here I am, 2 ½ years later. 40 years old, and embarking on a new career! When I started, I couldn't even use a computer. But, now I have the skills to create and design multimedia projects and web sites...all on the computer!

I'm living proof that it's NEVER too late to change your career! It's NEVER too late to go back to school! AND CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF...YOU CAN TEACH AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS!!!

With all these newfound skills, the future is ripe with possibilities! They say that life begins at 40. I know that's true for me!

If you discover in life that you don't like what you're doing, remember that you can always reinvent yourself at any age. It might not be easy, but it will be the most satisfying experience you can ever imagine!

It's NEVER too late to change YOUR life!

Enjoy the journey!

Deena N. Alansky
Graduate of Multimedia & Web Design
Art Institute of Pittsburgh

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