The First Internship
I love designing resumes and business cards, but self promoting yourself isn’t always the most comfortable task. Something scarier than the jungles of the job hunt is perhaps the search that comes just before it, the search for your first internship. Whether paid or unpaid, it’s the first time you’re attempting to apply what you’ve been learning, to practice the adventures you’ve decided to pursue in life. And while employers recognize you’re still in the process of learning, it’s terrifying to muster up the courage to pitch yourself on where you are in the hopes that they’ll see the potential of where you’re headed. I could fold sweaters better than your grandmother and clean office spaces like you wouldn’t believe, but it was a stretch to argue that my high school job experiences had directly prepared me for graphic design work.
I was in Graphic Design 1 when I found out about my first internship. Aka, I was a design toddler. Our professor mentioned it in passing, as he had connections at the local PBS affiliate and often encouraged his students to apply. As interested as I was when he brought it up to the class, I knew that lots of design students would probably be interested. I casually tossed the idea out to my parents a few weeks later, as my dad urged me to apply, disappointed that I’d already waited so long. The deadline for applications was fast approaching and even though I was intimidated, I had to make a move.
I applied the day before the deadline. Diane was less than impressed, and rightfully so. My confidence was less than shaky, and I knew I’d have to scramble to put together some decent pieces to show her even if I did manage to get an interview. She emailed back, saying that while she was nearly done with her interviews, she had a few open time slots left. She also mentioned the only time that would absolutely NOT work for her, which my nervous brain confidently interpreted as the only time that she would be able to meet. I gleefully confirmed that time would be perfect. That was a fun chain of emails…
Interview day came. I wore dress slacks and a gray turtleneck t-shirt, paired with a heinous black and white coat that can best be described as a Cruella Deville-esque abstract cow patterned trench, that I was convinced was classy as hell at the time. I rocked a royal blue purse though, and brought along a resume and a series of designs I felt best represented my style, printed and glued to black boards that had been trimmed as gracefully as my shaky x-acto knife skills could muster.
Diane was an incredible woman. While she was direct and sometimes intimidating, I loved her blunt honesty and kind heart. I went through my work with her, talked about myself, learned more about her, took a tour of the studio, and internally reminisced in the nostalgic days of watching PBS kids. When she began to walk me out I was pretty convinced she had completely forgotten my incompetence over excitedly reading emails, and felt that we had indeed formed a bond. WKAR Studios was full of dedicated employees that loved what they did, and I knew I wanted this job to be my first internship. When we got to the elevator to part ways she smiled at me and said “Who knows, maybe we saved the best for last.” She took a chance on me, and I had the privilege of working there until a few weeks after graduation.
I recently got to design some business cards for another amazing woman, Susan Dooley. Speaking of confidence in selling yourself, this awe-inspiring lady does everything from sales consulting to leadership training. Helping her design her brand has been an absolute pleasure, and how can you argue with someone that loves Michigan State Spartan green? The fronts of her cards contain a series of influential quotes , so along with her contact info… I always have some inspiring words tucked inside my wallet.