Real World? Is that you? Interning and graduating during a pandemic
During my final semester of college at Kutztown University, I had the opportunity to work as an Interactive and Marketing intern for Weidenhammer. Interning for Weidenhammer counted as college credit and took the place of traditional on-campus classes. When my time as a Weidenhammer intern ended, I was scheduled to return to on-campus classes. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my university transitioned to online classes for the remainder of the academic year and I finished my bachelor’s degree online with Zoom meetings as my classroom.
In May of 2020, I graduated from Kutztown University with a BFA in Communication Design and concentrations in advertising and interactive design. I was successful in an academic environment and have a positive outlook for my future. The choices I made in my education have provided me with a wide range of options for potential creative careers.
The Real World
Hands-on interning taught me to collaborate.
The uncertainty I feel is not uncommon. Going out into the “real world” can be a big transition for college graduates. I’ve found that interning is a great way to explore career paths and see what certain jobs are like first-hand. Although I learned how to make a nice-looking design with a solid concept in my classes, my internship taught me about everything else designers must do. Interning for Weidenhammer, I had to quickly assimilate into a brand-new environment just as I would with an entry-level position. I was given assignments with quick turnaround and learned how to budget my time to meet deadlines. I worked with different types of professionals who eagerly told me about new trends in web development and marketing. I had the opportunity to sit in on meetings and hear directly from clients.
I had done group projects in school, but interning taught me how to jump in on a project and keep my work organized so that others could understand and use what I had made. Because Adobe Photoshop is utilized so often at Weidenhammer, I gained a lot more experience with it. UX/UI design is also something that requires real-world practice. My superiors gave me great advice about what can make an interactive design more user-friendly. It definitely gave me a much better idea of the life of a web designer.
Should I mute my microphone on Zoom calls?
As my internship ended, businesses across the United States were making arrangements to work remotely. At first, my classmates and I were hopeful that the situation was short-term and we would see each other in person soon. However, as weeks went by, it became clear that we would have a completely different experience than any other graduating class. Turning in my last assignment felt anticlimactic. I barely thought about the fact that I had now had a bachelor’s degree. We would not be able to go to portfolio reviews and job fairs and young professional mixers. Many companies were unable to consider new hires with so much uncertainty. Still, we adjusted. We began to practice doing interviews over video chat. Do you have to wear pants? What if your dog starts barking? I attended virtual portfolio reviews and workshops. I feel that my job prospects are currently limited, but I also have the time to learn more and explore my interests.
You just have to roll with it.
My time as an undergraduate taught me to prepare to roll with the punches when things don’t go as planned. I knew how to get resourceful when it came to issues like printing errors and missing flash drives. Interning taught me that sometimes unexpected things can happen in the professional world as well. With more experience, some issues can be avoided, but it is also valuable to know how to respond as they arise. Regardless of graduating during a pandemic, I am thankful that I was able to complete my internship at Weidenhammer and for all the experiences I am now able to discuss over video chat with any potential employers.
Interested in learning about internship opportunities at Weidenhammer? Drop us a line.