Networking At My Internship

For my internship, I worked at Lanchid LLC. It is a financial consulting company that is located near the Flatiron District at West 27th Street. As a design intern who was working at a financial consulting firm, I felt very out of place. I had no knowledge of any marketing or financial jargon, so I had nothing to even talk about in the beginning. All I did in the beginning was just complete tasks without staring away from the computer screen. It sounds like a typical demand, but after a while, it gets boring in the sense that I’m still the only design intern there.

After two weeks at my internship, I met Savannah Blodgett. Surprisingly enough, I recognized her from my internship class, and at that moment I didn’t feel like an outsider in this white collar atmosphere. We managed to always be in sync while completing our respective design assignments as each task was connected to the next. She would make logos, food labels, and business cards that would directly correlate with my web design & written content. In turn, we were able to complete our tasks at a very quick pace. What made the situation interesting was that even though our design skills are different, we managed to complete tasks as if nothing was different to begin with. This was a situation that I did not expect, but I couldn’t help but realize something.¬†Despite having opposing skillsets, networking is still possible regardless, and that alone really is something to reflect on.

 

 

City Tech Alumni Event

For my third networking event, I went to the City Tech Alumni Event. This event was located in the Namm Building in the room next to the cafeteria. Each person was given a name tag to write on as a means of a simple introduction. From there, everyone would sit in small groups with different alumni from the school to discuss design related topics. From what I saw, there was a lot of people who were interested in Graphic Design as well as Advertising. Surprisingly, those were the only topics that were spoken about during my time at the event.

Out of the three events that I went to, this one felt the most “meh” to me. My primary reason for being at this event was because I had to complete the Networking Event requirement for the Internship class. Taking this into consideration, I entered the event with a rather uninterested state of mind. Also, as an Illustrator stuck in a sea of Graphic & Advertising designers, I instantly felt out of place. This event would be more suitable for someone from those design fields as opposed to someone like myself. In other words, the event was somewhat irrelevant to me. Sure, I did meet different people since that is the purpose of networking. However, the subject matter ended up not being of much worth in the end.

MoCCA After Party

The second networking event that I went to was the MoCCA After Party. Unlike the festival, this after party allowed me to network in a more traditional fashion. Rather than gaining exposure from my illustrations alone, I actually had to approach people. Honestly, I’m not fond of this because I am way too introverted to actually have a conversation with others. What made this even more intense for me was that the people who were at this event just so happened to be other MoCCA Fest exhibitors ranging from small art groups to professionals in the illustration field.¬†However, I had to muster up the power to network because my grades are actually on the line for this, which is ridiculous, but it’s whatever at this point. Luckily for me, I didn’t actually have to start the conversations as I was not alone at the event.¬†I was there along with the President of City Tech’s Ink Club, so each interaction was started with a dual interaction. Surprisingly enough, I actually managed to pull it off, and have a few interactions. Overall, it was an experience that I liked as I got to interact with professionals in the field, yet I mildly disliked it as well because my grade was unjustly put on the line for it.

MoCCA Arts Festival

For my first networking event, I went to the MoCCA Arts Festival, or MoCCA Fest for short. MoCCA Fest is an independent comics/illustration showcase. Unlike most showcases, this event behaves more like a convention akin to Comic Con, but for independent artistry. This event includes booths from various artists both solo & in groups, as well as educational panels for visitors who want a better understanding of various artistic techniques. During the showcase, I was an exhibitor for City Tech’s Ink Club. My job was to sell Ink Club anthologies, which had various illustrations from the club’s participants, myself included.¬† What made this experience interesting was that the type of networking at this event was unconventional. Aside from having business cards (which I couldn’t make at the time), our illustrations had social media handles associated with them. As such, we would network through the illustrations themselves. From my experience there, the exposure came from taking pictures of profile handles, and taking business cards. There is also going to other booths, but being an exhibitor doesn’t give people that chance because we have to stay so visitors won’t get turned away. Overall, it was a very interesting experience hat I never would have thought about actually doing.

Collaborative Project

My primary collaborative project at Lanchid LLC was the second website that I worked on. This website was for the Darsana Food Consulting Company, which is an affiliate company of Lanchid LLC. This was a rather extensive project because the website had to be built from the ground-up as opposed to making design-based corrections. My task was to build the website as well as create written informational content, while my fellow intern & classmate, Samantha Blodgett, designed the branding materials (ex: logos). While the written information was important in order to get the company’s message across, the branding materials played a huge role. Without that content, I would not have an idea as to how I should design the website. At the very least, not having any logos to take inspiration from would result in my attempts at designing the website missing the mark.

With the logos giving me inspiration for how I should proceed, I began to search for extra assets to implement in the website, and I began to build it from there. I created the website’s wireframe to be that of a professional business (which was what they wanted). From there, I implemented the written information as well as add all required assets. The implementation of assets was to showcase different food conventions that they participate in, and the products that this company would sell as Darsana is an import/export company aside from being a consulting agency. Now that the assets were in place, I also had to implement e-commerce for Darsana’s products, which was a lot easier than it sounded since WiX has a simple function specifically for that. Lastly, I published the website after gaining approval, and changed the size of the new logos to be used for different social medias like LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Screenshots of Darsana Food Consulting Company’s Homepage &¬†“What We Do” Page

(Property of Lanchid LLC. Viewable under the permission, and supervision of Lanchid LLC.)

Applying Learned Skills To My Internship

The skills that I learned at City Tech have helped me a lot because all of my tasks require¬†knowledge of the basics.¬†¬†All of my tasks involve web design via services like WiX, which are very design heavy as opposed to coding. Since the websites that I am creating are for my¬†employers as well as their other affiliated companies, I have to make sure that I stick to the rules of design that City Tech has enforced so the design matches each website’s purpose. For starters,¬†every task¬†require basic design skills as WiX is like InDesign for websites.¬†As such, I¬†have to use my knowledge of typography for the most part in order to make information look pleasing to the eye based on what the website’s content is focused on. Also, having an understanding of consistency, and design principles/aesthetics to make sure that what I am designing makes sense to what the subject matter is. Otherwise, the websites would not match their intended purposes, and in turn look¬†like complete disasters. In summary, just by understanding basic design skills, I was able to actively take on any task given to me.

Aside from obtaining an understanding of basic design skills, being a City Tech student has taught me how to not get attached to my work. Originally, I felt as if my work was a personal creation when in reality, it won’t always be the case. While I am able to create a design in my own interpretation, the original idea is still originating from a separate party. In other words, regardless of how I design or interpret something, it will forever belong to the client. This has helped me at my internship because I am now able to just complete any task that my supervisor and/or clients have in store for me without any attachment whatsoever. It feels as if a huge weight has lifted from my shoulders, and as such I can complete tasks one after another at peak speed while retaining the quality that is expected from others.

Lastly, my experience in City Tech has given me the ability to strengthen my level of patience. Despite being able to properly take criticism, I used to have a very short limit as to how much¬†I could handle. I would get extremely irked as if I felt completely bombarded, and overwhelmed after a certain amount of critiques. After four years of being a student, I have increased my endurance tenfold, which has allowed me to become unfazed by repetitive critiques. This has helped me at my internship because my position as a web designer for Lanchid is very critique heavy. I have to constantly implement, and remove content even if it was just deleted or added a minute ago. Also, I find myself creating create some of the content from the ground up, which involves obtaining a lengthy amount of reviews as the tasks progress. With these teachings, I can just go through these critiques with just an “understood, and a professional demeanor as opposed to giving off unprofessional ranting.

How I Found My Internship

Honestly, I found my internship by sheer luck. Before the semester, I had¬†spent months¬†searching for internships left and right. I applied for over twenty since October 2017, but only one had responded back. The company I was originally supposed to¬†intern for was WorkOf, which is a furniture company based in the DUMBO area of Brooklyn. They responded to my application in early January by asking for a phone interview. I¬†had a phone interview with the company’s COO four days later as¬†scheduled, and it seemed like it¬†was positively received. The COO said that I was¬†definitely going to get a callback for a one-on-one interview in the next week. However, that never happened. I waited the entire week with no response.¬†To make the situation even more questionable, I was¬†only allowed to message them back about the internship duties as opposed to¬†reminding them about my application if they were too busy to remember it.

At this point, I was in a complete panic. I applied for even more internships after that week of waiting for their callback only to not obtain any newer opportunities. I ended up having to start the semester with no internship whatsoever.  With only one week left to find an internship, I remembered that I had a handout for Internship.com lying around. As I had nothing left to lose, I applied for three internships on that website, and one of them responded to me an hour later asking to set up an interview. The company was Lanchid LLC, which is a consulting agency located near the Flatiron District. Obviously, I agreed to have the interview, which was the easiest interview I ever had since it was clear from the presentation of my portfolio that they wanted to hire me. Two days later, I got hired, and I started interning for them one week after the interview.

Work Environment at Internship

My work environment is very relaxing, and peaceful. (At the very least, that is how I see it.) For the most part, it is quiet. The typical noises I hear are that of the accounting interns talking amongst one another, as well as my supervisor taking business calls back to back. Sometimes, the only sounds in the room would end up being just the clacking of keyboard keys. Currently, the rarest noises come from truck and car horns blaring outside. Depending on the day, the noise would be minimal or escalated. Thursdays are the loudest at there are a lot of interns present, whereas Fridays are the quietest because there are usually only three or four interns present, which are usually myself, Savanna (the second design intern), and two interns from accounting. Putting that one occasional vehicle horn to the side, it is generally a quiet work environment.

In terms of workplace morale, it is usually very¬†positive (or at least I think it is).¬†For the most part, everybody works on their assignments without any issues.¬†Savannah¬† and I would stick to our individual tasks while occasionally checking up on each other’s progress. For the most part, neither one of us talk to the other interns except for one in Marketing because there has never been a reason to be involved in other sections that have nothing to do with design. So far, there has been only one time when the workplace was a bit on edge.¬†The situation was that two accounting interns were constantly¬†changing¬†their schedules, and not showing up on the days that they were told to appear.¬†My supervisor did get furious to the point that she was on the phone with her boss for about an hour.¬†They were¬†speaking¬†in another language (presumably Italian), but it was clear that there was a mutual anger between them.¬†Despite not being an accounting intern,¬†I¬†still felt a little bit freaked out as¬†I¬†had never¬†seen¬†my supervisor angry before.¬†Aside from that one incident, the workplace is primarily very positive.

Typical Work Day

My typical work days are¬†very straightforward.¬†For starters, my¬†day at work usually¬†begins at 10:00 AM. Before I begin, I get appointed daily tasks from my superior. After that, I will work for an estimated 5-6 hours with a forty minute lunch break in between. I do tend to get asked about my progress once every two hours or so, but aside from that, I just stick to my tasks until the day ends. Nothing more, nothing less. It is literally that straightforward. However, there will be rare moments in which I have to consult with actual clients. As Lanchid LLC has numerous affiliated companies, clients will provide overviews of their specific vision, as well as suggestions, and feedback. Although these interactions rarely happen, they are seen as very crucial because my designs now have to be favored by two or more groups instead of just one.¬†This doesn’t change my job too much, but it is important to remember during my daily tasks.

Networking Event Reflection

The networking event that I went to was called New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium: Michael Hearn on The Picture Book Revolution. This event was located at The New School, which is located at 14th Street. It was supposed to be about how the Silver age art movement known as “World of Art” transformed into an aggressive propaganda era of children’s books in Soviet Russia under Lenin, and Stalin. At first, I was very interested because art is known for making messages better than talking ever could, and I wanted to see how far this concept actually went. Also, this assignment forced me to actually go out, and interact with random strangers for the sake of networking even though I really didn’t want to. I tried to have high hopes that this would actually beneficial as well as worth my time. However, I ended up reacting in a way that heavily opposed my forced optimism as I found the experience to be very displeasing.

Honestly, I seriously disliked this event because the speakers spoke over one thousand words a minute. It was like hearing a machine gun fire off non-stop for long periods of time. This was rather irritating to the point that I barely had any idea as to what on Earth they were saying. To me, conversations went from children‚Äôs books to straight up gibberish. I literally learned nothing useful from this experience. The only information that I did learn from the panel was ‚ÄúBlah, blah, blah‚ÄĚ. As far as I know, this isn’t even remotely useful to know for the future, yet that was all they provided.

Adding to the aforementioned complaint, I felt that the way this event was set up was unprofessional. Coming into this event, I believed that The New School would have a refined, and artsy atmosphere to coincide with what they want prospective students to feel. However, I got the complete opposite. These panel speakers, as well as the organizers gave me the vibe that they really didn’t want to be there. For starters, the organizers had the same gloomy look as if they were forced to work, which is a real downer. Secondly, having the speakers talk so rapidly gave off the impression that they wanted to just say a script, and immediately leave. Lastly, the speakers were also speaking in a way that they were just talking amongst themselves, and ignoring the rest of us. It was extremely rude, and they were very aware of it.

Lastly, my main issue with this networking event was that nobody was prepared to network. There were literally no participants with business cards aside from myself, and Rosanna. It was so strange because that’s the point of having a networking event. Business cards are used to network, so what the heck? It made this entire thing pointless. What made me even angrier was that I did something that I truly hate, which is to interact with a room full of complete strangers, just to get nothing positive out of it. All that I got was a completely negative impression about this school, and its environment. The main life lesson out of everything there was that some people in the industry are just straight up useless, and it raises more questions as to how they managed to actually get a career in the first place.

In summary, this networking event was nowhere near satisfactory, or even pleasant for that matter. It was an utter letdown to say the least. I really expected more from an institution that is supposedly prestigious along with a panel of individuals who claim to be from the industry. For something that was purposely assigned to get me out of my comfort zone, it was nothing but a false bag of goods that wasted my time. I already felt that this assignment was seriously pushing me to the limit in terms of extreme anxiety, but to also test my patience really had me feeling so goddamn salty. It heavily impacted me because I started to feel skeptical about the industry due to its ever so strong soul draining vibe. After this, I now prefer to work for myself so I can retain my humanity, make a living doing what I love, and give the people what they really want without being held back by such awful drones who call themselves members of the “industry”.