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Ariel Wickham

Ariel Wickham

graduate publications design student

Hometown: Detour, Maryland

High School: Francis Scott Key High School

Student status: First-generation college student 

I am a Yogi.
I am a designer.
I am a cat lover.

Three years ago I was trudging my way through a very challenging time in my life. I worked an isolating job that I really didn’t like, but I was too afraid to leave. My family and I were distant and I didn’t feel supported, and I just got dumped by my boyfriend of a year.

I became depressed and though I attended therapy sessions, I needed something to do with myself—a purpose. It boiled down to this: Adopt a puppy or attend a yoga teacher training.

Three years ago I was trudging my way through a very challenging time in my life.

I was pretty close to adopting a puppy, too! But I figured at least nothing would potentially die or starve if I became a yoga teacher. But I was wrong.

Yoga teacher training was more than I ever thought it would be. Of course we learned how to do all of the yoga poses and breathing techniques, how to meditate, and how to offer efficient instruction and assists. What I hadn’t anticipated was that I also learned how to reframe my way of thinking, how to interact in a loving, nonviolent way with myself and others, and I learned that I was strong and not so helpless after all.

A year later, I was teaching weekly yoga classes and just received my acceptance email to the Master of Arts in Publications Design program at UB. I was thrilled, and later gave notice at the job I had felt confined to for so long. Finally, I would be making that next step in my career journey and would be developing the design skills that I always wished I had.

Now that I am two years into the program, I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. I love the challenge that publications design presents and throughout my classes have incorporated many of the things I love (like yoga and my cat) into my work. I am even doing freelance work on the side. 

I’m very grateful that UB exists as an opportunity for students like myself to grow, develop skills and become empowered—ultimately as better versions of who they already are. I can’t wait to see where I go next!

Last Published 9/5/17