Coming fresh out of college and entering the real working world can be overwhelming. You now have the daunting task of finding a job in your field that you’ve worked diligently for, for the past four years. I’d like to tell you all this comes easy, but I would be lying. You have to work hard to find a job you love, especially in the art world. I graduated in May 2014, and began working at Archer in September of the same year.
A month later, I was asked to participate in portfolio reviews at RIT’s regional student design conference, Thought at Work. At first I thought to myself, “how could I possibly do this?” Five months prior to this I, myself was sitting at my own portfolio review. I didn’t think I had enough experience or expertise to critique college seniors’ artwork, let alone had enough courage to try. Needless to say, something inside me wanted to go and see what students were doing and how they were doing it. Having gone through the whole process of preparing my own portfolio and learning to speak about my work five months prior, I thought it would be interesting to be on the other side of the table.
The event was overwhelming at first. Then I saw the first nervous student come my way and sit down in front of me. I took a deep breath and let the student walk me through their work. When they were done, it was my turn to give feedback. Surprisingly enough, it came easy, and I remembered what I had learned in my reviews and how people had responded to my work. I gave that same encouragement and advice and gave honest feedback. After the first student finished, I was excited to see more students’ work and give them feedback.
Seeing all the professionals giving feedback and being one of them made me realize how important it is to be involved in the design community. You can learn so much from even just one event. You can see new design trends, meet new people, network, and get feedback on your own work. As designers, it is important to always be learning and always be giving and getting feedback. It doesn’t matter if you’re straight out college or a seasoned veteran of the field, getting involved and gaining experience in the art world is crucial to anyone’s success.