Self Evaluation as an Intern (#10)

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When you think of being an intern you think of it as a non-paid job, you don’t have much fun, and it’s only for the summer. Starting the internship was a different experience than I had anticipated, and I learned more than I was expecting. I believe that during my time as an intern, I learned many new skills, worked efficiently, and improved my communication skills. I became more conscious of my mistakes as a designer and gained an understanding of the real world. I learned more about emailing customers, scheduling meetings, and maintaining proper internship etiquette. Learning many jobs and expectations is not what I expected from an internship.

One of my mistakes was failing to create more than one draft of a client’s project. I’d only send one concept at a time. It’s a good idea to create at least three to five sketches and digital drafts to provide the client with a few options. Another skill that I lacked was the ability to complete a design using only one program. If I was making a poster, I would always use Photoshop, but I learned from my coworkers that they used Indesign, and it’s easier to generate numerous copies on Indesign to make little modifications. Expanding your knowledge of new programs will help you and your customer produce greater results.

Because I was juggling school, my job, and this internship, my time management skills became beneficial. I’ve worked two jobs at the same time before while in school, so I knew what I was heading into and approached it cautiously. It takes me around two weeks to properly understand the school content and how things work. Dealing with the many deadlines for my schooling and client job made it difficult. Having my planner helped me keep organized and on top of my game; without it, I would not know how to balance my job and get it done well. 

My internship and this internship course have helped me enhance my time management and knowledge of using new programs, internship etiquette, communication, and being okay with mistakes as a designer. Going forward and looking for new jobs I will keep in mind the tips I learned from the internship and the internship course on how to succeed in an interview, having an organized portfolio, office, and Zoom etiquette, and keeping up the communication skills to better ensure your growth as a designer.

Relating my Internship to my Major (#9)

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Being a designer and growing as a designer has given me confidence in myself. I used to be very self-conscious, shy, and unwilling to work in groups or interact with others, and I didn’t believe anything I created had a purpose or was good enough. Before becoming a designer, I had no idea what I wanted to do or what my abilities and interests were. Beginning college allowed me to explore my passions for art and design. I discovered what I am most passionate about while attending graphic design classes over the last four years.

I was given the opportunity to intern as a designer with a team, working on group and individual projects. My major is Communication Design, and I am studying how to deliver a message through design. Taking classes where we had to work in groups as well as classes where we had to work alone has prepared me for this internship. We are given a range of projects to work on, many of which have deadlines and must appear a certain way to attract a specific target demographic. To complete a project, we must work with different programs and different methods, just as in school. Because there is no one way to create a project, knowing how to use numerous tools and methods can help me enhance the quality of my work. Overall, my internship and major are related because we must focus on providing a project that can convey to various target groups through design.

Role Models, Mentors and Networks (#8)

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We all have someone we admire, whether it is a family member, a coworker, an artist, or a friend. Working on a design team and meeting people with diverse abilities, experience, and insight has motivated me. My supervisor is one of the people on my team that has motivated me. She was the one I spoke with during the interview who explained the job in a way that made me less afraid about working as an intern. She reassured me that it would be a joyful and stimulating learning atmosphere. Moving to a new setting might be intimidating at times, but my supervisor assured me that I would immediately fit in with my team. During the interview and training week, she made me feel like I was already a member of the team.

When evaluating my portfolio, I showed some of my group work, and for my projects, I noted who I collaborated with. My supervisor acknowledged my projects and the people I worked with and informed me that one of the individuals I worked with is now on the design team. This made me feel better because I knew someone else on the team. It was simple for me to ask questions and get familiar with the routine. Working on this team for a few months has taught me that every one of my teammates inspires and drives me to succeed. As designers, we all work in different ways, which is a good thing. Having varied ways of creating is beneficial for a design workspace. It inspires me to think differently about how my message can come across if I design it differently. My team continues to inspire me and my work, and I hope I do the same for them.

The First Project

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Being in a new environment can be both exciting and overwhelming at first. You never know what to expect, and adjusting to the flow of things can take weeks. During the first week of my internship, I was nervous to see how things would turn out; I had questions about my first project, such as whether it would be difficult. Will I be able to meet the client’s expectations? Do I have the necessary skills to complete the task? I was assigned an illustration project for my first project. This client wanted a measurement character illustration for their baking class to use as a reference for their students. I felt happy to receive this assignment because my supervisor anticipated that I would enjoy it because of the illustration task.

I began by emailing the client to schedule a Zoom Meeting to further discuss what they required. I began with three different ideas after speaking with the client. It is essential to go further than what a client expects and to think of ways they may not have considered. Over two weeks, I began to create more detailed sketches. I was worried that the client wouldn’t like my idea and would ask me to come up with another one. Fortunately, the client liked my suggestions, and we settled on two designs for two different measurements. I began showing my work to my team, recognizing their revisions, and sharing those revisions with the client. These additional suggestions were well received by the client, and I made the final changes. I emailed the client a PDF version of the final deliverables, and they invited me to come in and get baked goods made by their classmates as a thank you.

The Importance of Team Meetings

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Working in a design internship with a team provides you with additional opportunities to refine your design skills and knowledge. This allows you to demonstrate your abilities, demonstrating what you can bring to the table as a designer to make new connections. We have weekly team meetings at my internship to discuss the project we are working on for our client. When I first learned about these weekly team meetings, I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to have work weekly or keep up with the work. I was worried that I wouldn’t fit in because I am quiet when you first meet me and it takes me some time to get used to a new setting. As time passed, I became more at ease with my team and the work, and I began to adjust and become familiar with the flow of my weekly expectations.

These team meetings are necessary for all of our designs to grow, change, and be accessible to all. Having a project reviewed by multiple eyes is beneficial to work ethics because everyone will have an option if something is unreadable, inappropriate, or does not look right on a particular platform. Just because you can understand and read a design doesn’t mean it’s legible to everyone else. Giving your work a fresh set of eyes opens it up to new perspectives and can help improve future projects.

For example, when I had to design posters for a monitor screen, I had never done so before, and while I knew the size of the monitor, I didn’t know the correct font size for what was readable to the public on it. When I showed my work to my team members who had previously worked on monitor posters, they advised me to make my text larger and use less information on such a large poster. Finally, team meetings are essential for gathering feedback to improve your work ethic and skills as a designer.

Struggles as a Designer

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One of the most difficult aspects of attending design school and working in a design internship is balancing work and not getting burned out. Designers face challenges such as imposter syndrome, which occurs when you don’t feel good enough about your job and believe that other designers’ work is superior to yours. Being in a new setting and presenting my design work to a new group of people can be intimidating because I begin to worry that people will not like my work or that I am not good enough to work as a designer with them.

During my midterm week, I began to feel a little burned out because I have two classes that require a lot of writing and design, and all of the deadlines are at different times of the week. I needed to make sure I was delivering work quickly for the client while still having time to do my classwork. I believe the shift from online to in-person classes has slowed my ability to complete my schoolwork on time. I was used to a class ending online and being able to get straight to work because I already was using a computer. Being in person, it’s a 45-minute journey back home, then I have to eat and get back to work, so I’m exhausted by the time I get home. My second client had a deadline, and I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to finish it on time. I had some doubts about myself because the assignment was a poster design, which is not my strongest ability.

Finally, I finished a poster that the customer enjoyed. One challenge I faced with this project was that the client or my internship mentor did not respond to my email with feedback over the weekend before the deadline, so I was concerned that I would not have a finished revision by the deadline. At the end of the day, I have to remind myself that I sent in the work ahead of schedule and that the client and my mentor may not be able to get back to me right away.

Overall, it’s important to remind yourself to breathe, plan out your week, and seek assistance or deadline extensions if necessary. When I feel like I have too much on my plate and I start to have imposter syndrome, I start to worry that my work will not be what the client desires. I keep myself organized by using a planner and planning out my week’s tasks at the beginning of each week.

A Typical Week

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Being that my internship is entirely remote, but we have the option of meeting with the client on campus, my week can vary from week to week based on the requirements of the client. On Wednesdays, we have our one-on-one weekly meeting for about two hours, which is typical of my week. The goal of these weekly meetings is to discuss the work we’ve been doing with our clients, take notice of any team feedback, and provide feedback to our teammates on their work.

When our meeting is finished, I’ll go straight to work on a few things. First, I collected the feedback I had received from each teammate so that I could share it with them the next week and let them know I had taken note of whoever made the suggestion. For me, this shows the team that I am giving attention to any details or assistance they provide. If I received a new client on the day of my meeting, I’d have to send an email to set up a Zoom meeting with them to discuss the deliverables for their project. When we are given a new client, we are paired with a team mentor to whom we can email for any extra assistance while working on an assignment. Following that, I work on revisions and email my supervisor and mentor to review the work for any errors or suggestions before submitting it to the client for further review. I make sure to send the work over for review as soon as possible to meet any deadlines, while still having time for my schoolwork.

My week can vary depending on whether I have a deadline or need to meet with a client in person. I didn’t have a deadline for my first assignment, but she proposed we meet in person because she wanted to provide me with food made by her students as a thank-you for working on her project. My second client had a deadline, but I didn’t need to speak with her in person. With a deadline for the second assignment, I was able to work more quickly on brainstorming ideas for the client while still having time for schoolwork. Overall, my work varies based on the client I have, and I attend weekly team meetings to improve my work and prepare for future clients.

Working Remotely

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Since 2020, work environments have had to change and relocate to be completely remote. This was a difficult transition for many places, and it made it more difficult for people who did not have access to a specific technology or a secure working environment at home. It was a big change for me to go from in-person to online, but it was for the best. I began to complete my work more quickly, I had more time to do schoolwork instead of wasting time traveling back and forth to campus, and I felt mentally better.

My internship is online, which helps me get my work done. Client meetings are only 20 minutes long, so having a Zoom call is just as simple as seeing them in person. I know where my internship workplace is and what room it is in, but I don’t have to go there unless I am told to. We don’t have to dress up for our weekly one-on-one zoom meetings, but we do have to share what work we did. Our Zoom meeting etiquette would be to pay attention to the feedback our teammates offer us and to remind our teammates what we are working on each week before presenting.

A downside of being online is that I have to ensure that nothing interferes with the schedule of my weekly meetings and that I am in a quiet location to participate in a Zoom call. Being online is a better workspace for me because I am constantly on my computer doing work, so it is easier for me to be on my computer, have my client zoom meetings, and have my team meetings all in one space where I can quickly exchange information.

Obtaining an Internship

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My internship requires me to create and design content, assist with projects, and collaborate with faculty. The faculty come to us with an idea or a project in mind, but they lack the design abilities that we do as designers to bring their ideas to life. It’s a fantastic way for faculty and students to connect and share new ideas. My supervisor is in charge of organizing our weekly team meetings and assigning us to work for a faculty client. This internship was suggested by a former professor who emailed us on the last day of our last semester, Fall 2022. I was already nervous about finding an internship for the Spring 2023 semester, so I applied right away. During the application process, I was required to obtain letters of recommendation from my professors, and my professors were aware of the internship and agreed that I would be a good fit.

I chose this internship because it would be my first graphic design internship, and working for a school appeals to me. I received an email from the team shortly after applying, asking when I was available for an online interview. During the online interview, I was asked a series of questions that I found interesting because they were different from what I was used to being asked. They were questions like, “What was one project in your portfolio that you would change and why?” and “Was there a team project you worked on where you disagreed with your teammates?”. These questions were great because they made me think about my work. After speaking with the team, I had a one-on-one interview with the supervisor, who gave me an overview of the internship and what is expected each week. This interview lasted about an hour, and at the end, I was told that if I got the internship, I would hear back by the end of the week. The interview was on a Wednesday and the next day, Thursday, and I found out right away that I had gotten the internship. I was relieved and excited because this was the only internship I applied for.

Following my acceptance, I was informed that I would be required to participate in a week of online training. The online training included me working on a personal project and then with the other new intern to demonstrate to the team how well we work independently and as a team. We had to present our work to the rest of our design team on the last day of training and get feedback. Overall, it was a really fun and new experience doing this because I had never been in a design internship before, and I feel lucky to be surrounded by inspiring design teammates from whom we can learn.

Introducing my Internship

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My internship is at a private center for teaching, learning, scholarship, and service that coordinates all professional development, grants, and assessment activities for faculty. This center was founded in 2005 and is currently housed in an open office on campus in Brooklyn, New York. Our job is to work with our teammates to assist the college faculty in completing projects using our design skills and knowledge. Graphic designers on the design team assist faculty for the benefit of students. Our clients are all from college and are looking for the design department to assist them with design projects. We currently hold our weekly meetings online and do not meet in person unless we are meeting with a client. We are the communication design department, and we collaborate with college faculty to create promotional materials for workshops and events, as well as website banners, brochures, posters, and postcards.