Recently, I was asked by an old professor of mine, Jamie Franki, to come speak to a class of seniors about the transition from the college world to the professional world. The class is entitled Senior Seminar and is intended to help graduating art students with that transition. I remember taking the class myself during my final semester at UNC Charlotte. The course covered topics from interviewing skills, to creating resumes, to the presentation of your portfolio, among others. Over the span of a semester the professor will invite five or so UNCC graduates that have had some success in their field, to come back and offer advice to the students. I was honored and excited about the opportunity. I arrived at the class around five o’clock on Tuesday. After a brief introduction from Jamie, I was asked to describe my path from where the students are now to where I am now. I told my tale of graduating, working for a short while and then starting and growing Union (formerly Studiobanks). I tried to lace my stories with as much advice as I could. For example, I remember advising the students that they should not look at their studio classes as merely requirements to obtaining a degree. Rather, they should see them as an opportunity to create great projects for their portfolio. Any extra effort they could put into their projects now, beyond what is required to pass the course, would help them greatly after graduation. I explained while some employers might glance at applicant’s college GPA, most graphic design positions are filled almost solely on the strength of his or her portfolio.
Next, Jamie asked that I share with the students some of Union’s work. Since I didn’t have a special presentation prepared I pulled up our portfolio and walked the students though some of our various projects. I tried to explain our thought process behind each project and why we did the things we did. Some of the students asked questions, and Jamie would chime in with comments about points I was making.
All in all, it was a good experience for me. Hopefully, it was for the students, too.