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Steph Dorsch '18, surrounded by learning, creating and leaning into her deepest passions

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Posted on Monday, May 3, 2021

Throughout life, Steph Dorsch '18, a Fine Art graduate, has chosen a life surrounded by learning, creating and leaning into her deepest passions. Read through our conversation and hold onto her tidbits of wisdom throughout your week.

Tell me a little bit about your life following graduation?

Following graduation, I traveled to Colorado and Wyoming to work as an outdoor backcountry guide, leading trips backpacking, rock climbing, and mountain biking while acquiring various certifications, like Wilderness First Aid. Shortly after, I moved to San Diego for a couple years where I continued guiding in southern California, and I referred to my prior experience as a competitive gymnast to coach tumbling at the San Diego Circus Center. My guiding job evolved over time, and I moved up in the company becoming the Adventure Program Coordinator and a traveling art instructor. As my dream to establish myself as an artist continued to grow and take shape, I put guiding behind me to start pursuing an art career full-time.

What advice do you have for alumni who want to follow their passions but don’t know how to get started in taking the plunge?

The hardest part is taking the plunge. However, once you make it, you’ll forever thank yourself that you did because for better or for worse, you will be pushing yourself to learn and grow. If you follow what you’re truly passionate about, you’re sharing your best self with the world, and I think that’s the key to finding your purpose/service to society in this life. Failure is common, but moments of failure are where you most definitely grow the most. If you don’t know how to get started, I would suggest doing something small in the field/direction of your passion every single day. The days will eventually add up and inspire you to make bigger steps, and over time, your goal and a path to get there will become clearer.

Since graduation, how have you followed your passions wherever they took you?

My passions in life are to learn and to create. Since graduating, I spent a lot of moments feeling lost along my path, but what kept me grounded was making sure I was consistently providing myself with active opportunities to learn and grow in new ways. I chose to find jobs that really pushed me to learn new skills and make me a more well-rounded person. I have never let money tempt me to pursue something that I knew wasn’t right for me, and I hope to continue to avoid that temptation.

What are you up to now? What are your next goals/steps in your journey? What’s your day look like?

Currently, I am located in Virginia Beach pursuing my ultimate goals as an emerging artist! I work as a ceramic production assistant at a local pottery studio and spend the rest of my time creating paintings, entering art shows, displaying work at local markets, and surfing with my fiancé for fun. I aspire to continue finding my voice in the art world by refining my art style, creating more bodies of work, and developing a business sense. My future goals are to enter the next level of competitive art shows, travel to regional markets, and become more involved with the local artist community.

When you reflect on your time at WC, do you have a moment/memory that stands out that helped you become who you are today?

My junior year, I studied abroad to San Jose, Costa Rica in the fall semester and Sevilla, Spain in the spring semester, thanks to the support of my professors. Returning my senior year, I felt like a very changed person. I established a closer relationship with my professors, especially Summer Zickefoose and Peggy Cox in the art department, and had a newfound appreciation for my studies, the school, and even the town of New Wilmington. That year really changed my mindset that I am a part of something bigger than myself; WC was helping me prepare to be a better person, not just preparing me for “some job to make money someday.” I am so thankful for the opportunities my professors in all departments shared with me that helped guide me before I went off guiding others.

Continue to read the Wake Up with Wiley here