My first day as a graphic design intern was a lot like my first day of college. I knew I possessed the knowledge and skill necessary to be where I was standing, and yet I still felt incredibly nervous and unprepared. Interning at Miami University’s Housing and Dining Services as a student designer has been one of my better decisions since attending Miami, and I can’t believe the drastic impact it left with me after only three weeks.
At the Housing and Dining Center, there are a wide variety of tasks and people who communicate with others on campus to keep establishments running smoothly and keep students happy. With so many people working in the office, I was pleasantly surprised to feel warmly welcomed on my first day. As a newcomer, and especially a young intern, I was prepared to be tossed to the side while busier and more important people rushed by. Instead, I was introduced to multiple people and was able to spend time talking with the marketing director about my job duties and how to access my files and job postings.
As a graphic design intern, I was expected to complete the set of job listings on my personal account at the center. These jobs would include logo, poster, and various other print and digital designs for areas on the university campus. My role was to follow the design details the client listed and email them with design comps within days of the initial posting. It was my responsibility to email back and forth with each client until they were happy with my designs and the piece was ready to be printed. Although the job sounds simple, I encountered numerous bumps in the process with branding specifications, client opinions, and minor to major design changes.
Through this position and the tasks I was assigned daily, I learned much more than color coding and choosing the right typeface. I got to see first-hand how special each department at Miami is and how passionate the managers of those locations feel about their work. I dealt with real world deadlines and, above all, how to take pictures and words and make them into feelings and experiences. Interning at Housing and Dining Services wasn’t just a way to pass the time for a few weeks, it was a way for me to become more connected to the university, and through my designs, help others feel the same way.
During my internship, I learned how to effectively redesign my projects for clients instead of starting over each time. Essentially, I learned to take mistakes and use them for the better, a lesson I’ve started applying to more areas than just design. My favorite part of my internship was how incredibly valued I felt. The tasks and responsibilities I was given resulted in posters and print designs that were displayed in front of thousands of students and university visitors. They were designs that were going to make an impact on people’s vision of the university, and I was one of the people whose aesthetic designs made that happen.
Although my internship only lasted a few weeks, I underwent changes that will stay with me for years. These short few weeks weren’t just static moments in my life, but instead, they initiated a domino effect of opportunities and open doors. As a result of my hard work and dedication, I was offered a permanent position as a designer at Housing and Dining Services, and I jumped at the chance to continue my growth and development. In addition, because of the success of one of my designs, I was assigned the task of designing the campus advertisements and bookstore designs for graduation—a huge honor and opportunity I was shocked to receive.
My design internship for Miami University wasn’t just an auxiliary service, it was a chance to prove myself, to develop my skills, and to influence and change the way people see the small world we live in during these four years. My internship influenced my college experience, but it influenced my designs, my future, and myself during that process.