By Harris Ryder
During my time at school for design, doing an internship was genuinely the most helpful experience that I had, and I felt as though I learned as much in that short span of time than I would’ve in multiple classes over the span of the semester. With that being said, internships can be intimidating, and you may hear a lot of the same advice over and over again- that’s what I thought! But it turns out, it’s because most of it is true.
Always keep an eye out for other designers in different areas of your life! This tip may be put out there quite a bit, but as I’ve learned- it’s true! As someone who is rather anxious when it comes to putting myself out there, I didn’t want to immediately approach a strange unknown company and attempt to join them for an internship- the very idea of such was intimidating! So when it came to picking out an internship, I thought back to a designer who I had met in the past at a friends birthday party, who I had natural conversations with, and who I had become comfortable with! If you are like me, then it is totally ok to gravitate towards working with someone familiar. Always think about who you already know, and go from there! This will help you comfortably ease into the design field, in my opinion.
When I first talked to Jamie about starting an internship with her, she was in the process of building the Jelly brand, which was a colorful, and fun brand that I found to align with a lot of the design work that I am fond of doing regularly. On top of this, Jamie found ways to incorporate my personal strength of illustration into the branding and projects that I was tasked with, so if you are good at something- put it out there! Lots of internship leaders would be happy to utilize your talents within their needs, which will benefit the both of you!
While this is a time to experience the real world when it comes to design, internships are also a time to learn, and expand your knowledge and abilities! I asked lots and lots of questions that both helped me ensure I was completing the tasks I was given to the best of my ability, and that helped me to pick up on new, helpful knowledge for the future. The person who hired you knows that you are a student! With this, comes the understanding that you won’t know everything right from the start! As time went on during my internship, the questions I asked shifted, as the knowledge from my previous questions genuinely helped to mold my abilities in a way that allowed me to answer my own questions and improve and refine my design skills.
While completing an internship, it is important to take on a breadth of projects, so that you can experience as many real world tasks as you can! You don’t want to stick to one task that repeats the entire duration of this experience, or you’ll get to the end of the internship without fulfillment or new knowledge of the field. During my internship at Jelly, I was given tasks from big to small, and Jamie made sure to include projects in areas where I felt I needed more development as well. If this isn’t happening for you- ask! Tell the person you are working for where you feel you are interested in growing, and ask for a variety of tasks to see what you do and don’t like within the world of design. This will give you a better idea of what jobs you want to take on after you graduate.
And the final tip-
If your internship is coming to an end, and you have enjoyed your experience/ feel as though the people and company you have been working with are a good fit to you, ask if there would be the possibility of a position after the internship! If you really enjoy the work you have been given, there is no harm in seeing if you have the option to stay on! A lot of times, the answer will be yes! This is always good, as you’ll already be in the swing of things, and have an understanding of the company you were working for. If it wasn’t a match, that’s ok too! It was a good learning experience and you can use it as a formative experience when looking in the future.