So you’ve just finished your last semester of school and need an internship in order to graduate. You have a book full of projects from the past year and you’re excited to start your creative journey, but there’s a problem. It’s a problem that a lot of young professionals face every year and it keeps getting harder.
Working for free isn’t easy; I spent the first year of my career interning. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I’m proud to say it was worth the work. I learned a lot about myself and about being a designer.
While interning, I would sit with the senior designers and watch them while they work: asking questions along the way and learning more in four months than I ever thought possible. I was determined to prove to them how hard I could work and how eager I was to learn. After working there during the day, I would go home and continue working at night. My summer after graduation was spent designing and redesigning my work because what I had when I left school wasn’t going to get me a job. Eventually, every piece of schoolwork was replaced; I had a completely different book.
When my internship ended, it was rough.
“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”
Freelancing and working part-time was how I got by. I would email and call agencies, asking if any designers could look through my book and provide me with feedback. Eventually, I had a good amount of feedback to help me grow my portfolio even more. The people I had met became part of my network, exposing me to more opportunities.
I started my second internship and had another great experience. Using what I learned from before, I tried to make myself indispensable to my new opportunity. Asking if there is anything that you can do to help them is vital in order to gain their trust. They need to be able to count on you to deliver on your own work so they can concentrate on theirs.
When my second internship ended, I had a year of experience under my belt and an impressive portfolio. People started calling me to come meet them: it was not what I was used to. I started freelancing at a hot new shop, working with the senior designer on anything from branding, advertising, digital and more. We worked well together and became a tight unit. They trusted me to deliver on everything I did, which gave me the confidence to work harder. My freelance contract became a full-time offer within a few months.
Honestly, the day I received that offer was the happiest day of my life. The blood, sweat and tears finally meant something.
Never stop fighting,
Someone should write a story based on these photos, is all I’m saying.
One of the most incredible experiences I have ever had. The Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset. #OculusRift #ApolloMontreal #AnomalyPerks (at Anomaly)