Internships and experiences in your field are a wonderful thing for you to test out the working world you’re getting yourself into, that’s of course if you’re not going on coffee runs, making copies or sending emails. If an internship is done right, you’ll see the highs and lows of your field where you can decide if the gratification weighs out the frustration.
As a senior design student, I have been lucky enough to work through three internships right now with one of them being a steady 2-years and counting. At that point I don’t know if it’s still an internship as much as I am just an underpaid designer. With a deep breath I just keep telling myself, “Just wait until you graduate, just wait for graduation…”
Highs and Lows of Internships
Although the compensation isn’t much, the experience is well worth the below minimum wage pay, I think. In most cases at least, right? My most recent internship was with a modeling agency in New York City. With a commute into the city twice a week, I worked 5 hours a day in the office with about 5 other women and any models that would stroll in for fittings, sizings, photos or paperwork.
I remember being really excited about this internship with the hopes that I could edit cool, creative graphics, take photos and do some web design all in my 90 hours needed to complete the $10 an hour, 3 credit internship. I can say that by the last day I was happy to finish my hours and get out of there, I was definitely disappointed with the experience and did not get enough out of it. At the end of the day, the pay only covered my commute and I found myself doing practically nothing and constantly having to ask for things to work on. I was given a lot of projects that did not involve design and I found myself designing in Adobe Acrobat the most out of all the programs. And so, with a deep breath once again, I told myself, “at least you’re getting credits, at least you’re getting credits…”
With each internship, however, I learn more about working with a team and exploring the various avenues that design can go. I also learn more of the kind of designing I want to do in the future. With my first internship, the one I still currently have, I do marketing for a fishing company where I make weekly and monthly ads and emails highlighting sales and products. As much as it is satisfying to make cool ads and have the creative freedom to experiment, I’m not sure if marketing is the route I want to take.
Some images of work I’ve done for my internship with a fishing company.
As One Door Closes, Another One Opens
On my last day at the modeling agency, I got an email from one of my design professors with an opportunity to work an internship with an athletic team. If I love anything more than my mom and design, it’s sports. With previous opportunities to make graphics for my own sports teams that I’ve played for or coached, I easily can say sports design is an avenue I can see myself being really happy in. Although there is no pay and no credits coming from this particular internship, I can say the experience is going to be a much greater reward than any of that. I am really looking forward to working with Lackawanna College Football for this upcoming season.