So after 2 years I finally decided to change up the design for this website.
At the start of April 2011 I was in college and barely making it by. School swallowed up so much time that I couldn’t do client work to get any cash. Let’s just say my stomach wasn’t exactly “full.” This was probably one of my lowest points, both in my finances, academics, and motivation. I was going broke fast and I needed a quick solution, asking my family for money was simply not an option. A friend emailed me about a competition at USC where students could submit websites they have worked on recently. There were five categories and the second prize winners in each category won $500 while the winners got $1000. One category was for personal websites. So with my pockets empty and my old website rotting, I got cracking.
I spent days ignoring my schoolwork to design and build a new site on top of wordpress, something I hadn’t really done before. During this time I discovered one of the fundamental laws of the universe:
“Everything will always take twice as long as expected.”
- The Universe
As the clock ticked closer and closer to the midnight deadline I had to just draw a line at what was “good enough” and hit submit. And while I was at it I threw in another website I had been working on for a category I wasn’t really sure it belonged to. So the wait began.
It’s now April 7th, the day of the awards ceremony. I wake up to an email from my bank, my account had gone negative due to an overdraft. Great. Walking over to the ceremony I am completely demoralized. I start thinking that there is absolutely no way I can win second place in a school this big.
Soon after I arrive I realize that most of the websites submitted were actually built by teams of people. Any hope I had sizzled away in an instant. I take my seat and quietly wait for the announcements. The first category comes up. Not my category, phew. As they list the winners I am thinking to myself how little this competition means to these kids. Most had parents paying for their education. Most had a stipend to spend on things like food. I did not.
Then they started listing the winners for Personal Websites. And the runner up is…..not me. The runner up goes up, shakes a hand, accepts a certificate, takes a photo, and sits back down. Second place………..still not me. My world ended there. I pretty much went into panic mode. My mind started analyzing every other possible way to make money quickly. With my thoughts still racing, someone at the table taps my shoulder. I look up and as the sounds fade back in I hear someone say, “Saidur Hossain……is Saidur Hossain here?”. Holy moly. I muster up whatever energy I could to get up, shake a hand, take the certificate, take a very awkward looking photo, and sit back down. Absolutely dazed. I had just won $1000 dollars. My life was complete.
Or so I thought. While staring at my certificate, I hear my name again in the background. I thought there was maybe an issue. Instead they were calling me up to take another prize. I just won first place…..again? The second website I submitted into a category I wasn’t fully sure it belonged to had just won its category. With a negative bank account, I had just won $2000.
You don’t know when the good times are until you have been through the bad. I spent that summer working around clock on my craft, determined not to let myself get that low again. Things since have only gotten better and I am unbelievably grateful.
Good bye old friend, you’ve served me well.