I’m sitting here trying to work my way through a mound of assignments that need marking, but I can’t get any work done.

I found out today that one of my students passed away over the weekend. He was a design student of mine for all of last year, and was planning to return to classes in January. A boating accident, and the freezing waters of Shoal Lake ended those aspirations. He was 22 years old.

I’m hesitant to write about this in many ways, as I’ve tried to avoid writing about work out of respect for my students, and out of the understanding that many of my students know about this site. But it seems important somehow to acknowledge here the brief time that I knew Sebastian.

Sebastian’s death saddens me in many ways, not only because of the pure loss of potential. Sebastian wasn’t one of my best students; in fact, at the end of last year he had been suspended from classes for a number of reasons. But we all have been impulsive, brash, and spontaneous at one time in our lives (or even still), and had the chance to learn, to mature, and to mellow.

It saddens me to know that Sebastian won’t get that chance.

Sebastian, for all of his all-too human difficulties, was an enthusiastic student, and was a genuinely friendly, well-meaning person. He loved cats at least as much as I do, was an ardent rock collector and was deeply passionate about design.

There are many other designers whose careers would receive acknowledgement throughout the design world upon their passing. Even though Sebastian was just at the beginning of his own career before it was unjustly cut short, I hope this small gesture helps acknowledge what was, what is, and what could have been.

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