My Journey Beyond Self-Limitation in Advanced Media Management Program 

Jiaqi Jin headshot
Jiaqi Jin

About a dozen years ago, my first encounter with a computer task left me quite bewildered. It was during a logo design competition for a football game. I spent hours in front of the screen on a sultry afternoon, trying to craft a football using CAD software, a tool I had never learned. The result was a haphazard array of broken pentagons and hexagons on the screen with my strong giddiness, far from what I had envisioned. That day marked my introduction to the perplexing world of computer software, a world where I felt out of place and overwhelmed. 

As I grew up, computers became quite a necessity for work and school. Despite frequent use, I always felt a distant, uneasy relationship with technology. This discomfort extended to any field involving innovative technology, including the advanced media management program I enrolled in at Newhouse. Courses in web design, artificial intelligence, AR/VR and Web3 confronted me with my long-standing apprehensions. 

A turning point came several weeks ago during a creative assignment in a web design class. We were tasked to use ChatGPT for coding anything we had not learned, a task I considered beyond my capabilities. I opted for a simple animation, but even basic commands led to many unexpected and even amusing results. After three frustrating hours, I settled for an unsatisfactory outcome, reinforcing my belief that I was not cut out for this. 

However, in class, I realized I was not alone in my struggles. Many students shared their challenges with ChatGPT, and Professor Adam Peruta told us mastering new software like ChatGPT often takes at least ten hours. This was a revelation. I had surrendered too quickly, not even reaching the average learning curve. When registering my Midjourney account several days ago, I barely spent 20 minutes on it before I thought it was too difficult and put it aside. My brief encounters with failure were misconstrued as evidence of my inability, reinforcing my self-imposed limitations. 

I remembered Professor Huston’s words during our first summer boot camp at Syracuse University. She opened her course by encouraging us to embrace failure as a learning opportunity. Inspired, I decided to give technology another try, this time with a different mindset. I dedicated an afternoon to exploring Midjourney, following official tutorials step by step. To my surprise, I quickly generated the images I needed, significantly improving my work efficiency. Similarly, in web design, I thought I would work poorly on coding, but my professor praised the HTML and CSS code, in stark contrast to my initial apprehensions. I also tried 3D painting with VR headsets in our digital lab, which I thought would be impossible for me to get along with.  

In just a few months, I have overcome so many self-imposed barriers, actively engaging with advanced technologies and unfamiliar tasks. By challenging my expectations, I have surprised myself and expanded my capabilities. 

Now, whenever I face a new technological challenge, I pause and question my fear. If my initial reaction is “No, I’m not good at this,” I recognize it as another self-imposed barrier, an opportunity to commit more time and effort to overcome it. 

Have you ever told yourself “No, I’m not good at this” and avoided trying something new? Join me in breaking these self-imposed limitations and discovering what you are truly capable of. 

Jiaqi Jin is a graduate student in the advanced media management program at the Newhouse School.