There are many things I am passionate about, but there are two passions that seem to be inclusive of all the others - my passion for art and my passion for service. These are two things that we are generally told are difficult to pursue. I went to St. Paul’s from pre-K until yesterday, when I graduated. They began prompting us to think about our future at a rather young age. This is something I am very thankful for because I was forced to put incredible thought into it, and I'm confident that I have made the right choices. This fall I will be attending Loyola University New Orleans and studying Graphic Design.
For a long time I tried to convince myself not to go in the art direction because everyone always talks about the “starving artist.” I figured that if I was starving, there was no way I could elevate starvation anywhere else. But my passion never left, and my talents just grew. Eventually, art became an inherent part of who I am. I wouldn’t be Celeste if I wasn’t an artist. I had always considered this talent something God had given me, and I had been pouring my mind trying to figure out how to use it to better the world, while at the same time making a livable wage. I am very intent on the fact that God has created each of us with our own unique purpose, and that this purpose is found in something we are passionate about. For me, these are art and service, and somewhere there is a place where those two worlds meet.
In November, I toured Loyola and the Graphic Design department. I sat in on classes and met the professors. I hadn’t known a whole lot about Graphic Design before (besides that it was art done digitally and that people always told me it was the better way to make money doing art), so when I got home, I researched it in depth. Graphic Design is the artist’s way of communicating with the world. And that is it. That is exactly where art and service meet for me. Because I have also always felt that I have something important to say to the world, but I have never been good at using verbal words to do so. Art is my main mode of expression, and the most accurate for me. I have done a lot of thinking about poverty and how to help with it, and a shocking, heart-breaking realization I came across is that so many Americans are merely ignorant to statistics like smoke inhalation (due to cooking over an open flame) in developing nations is the fourth leading cause of death, or that there are 358 million people in Africa alone that lack access to clean water. Someone has to speak up about this. The first step to change is awareness. What better way to do this than majoring in the art of communication?
If I have learned anything in my 18 years of life, it is this - if you want to be successful, live originally. Don’t listen to other people’s pre-conceived notions about what you’re supposed to do with your life. Search yourself deeply and find your passion. Take the risk and pursue it, even if you may be poor at first. If it’s truly your purpose, you will have everything you need. Trust God in this. Be genuine,Be yourself, even if you’re afraid of being alone because of it. That has been very real for me. My English teacher once told me, “You are a deep soul with an inner, creative life beyond what many people experience day-to-day. Such people are needed desperately in this world.” Those are words I will never forget and that will never cease to encourage me, because being unafraid of who you are can be lonely, and I have experienced that firsthand. But do not be afraid, because it is worth it. Be loyal to your values, to God, and to those in your life. if you do this, you will never truly be alone. Also have empathy and show love at all times and in every moment. These are the things I live by, and that is what has gotten me where I am now. Remember these things, and you should never be afraid to live originally.
Make sure you catch the rest of our Live Original series on Sunday Nights to hear more encouraging testimonies from students!