How Interning Prepared Me for My Career

woman with blonde hair posing next to her 3d artwork

During my years here at Michigan State, I’ve worked many jobs; from making sandwiches at Subway to designing fliers for the student government (ASMSU). Because of these experiences, although they weren’t entirely resume material, I met a lot of wonderful people.

I worked with another student, Christie Evenson, at ASMSU. At the time, she was working two different jobs, and recommended me for a position where she was interning at the College of Arts & Letters. Before this, I never even knew the College of Arts & Letters offered internships, especially for graphic designers. Without making this connection, I would have missed this incredible opportunity, and I am very thankful that I didn’t. Just the process of getting this internship taught me that networking is key, and without getting your name out there, you may miss out on some amazing experiences.

I landed the job, but I was still a very unexperienced designer and had a lot to learn. Illustrator was my program of choice, and throughout all of my design courses, InDesign and Photoshop weren’t a top priority to learn. Immediately at my internship, I was thrown into these two programs, which was a challenge that I was more than willing to accept. Right away, I was learning a new program, which I believe made me a more balanced and well-rounded designer.

Every day I was learning something new, and I know that will continue once I go into the real world.

I have been a part of the College of Arts & Letters since December 2014. Throughout this time, there have been many projects and challenges. My official responsibilities were to report to and work closely with the senior graphic designer on all materials, manage multiple projects with varying timelines, follow MSU and College of Arts & Letters brand standards, work side-by-side with the College’s social media and communications interns and event coordinator to publicize and promote events to students, and manage multiple projects with varying timelines.

woman with blonde hair posing next to her graphic design prints

I’ve been thrown into a lot of situations where I didn’t have any experience, and I was afraid to make mistakes. I was assigned big projects ranging from designing holiday cards and creating brochures to cutting out vinyl photo captions by hand with dental tools. These experiences taught me so much and helped me understand the learning process that internships are meant to be.

I’m very thankful for my time at the College of Arts & Letters marketing department. I now know many techniques and design processes that other designers may not ever get to learn. 

Every day I was learning something new, and I know that will continue once I go into the real world. My number-one priority was to find a career where I wouldn’t be forced to design one type of thing, but have a wide range, so that I can continue learning and be as well-rounded and proficient of a designer as possible. Thankfully, I have found a position at IMBIBE: Drink Tank, located in Chicago, Ill., that I can continue working with a wide range of projects and hopefully learn something new every day.

Without this internship, I would have never been able to land such a great career, and I am very thankful for this amazing opportunity.

Tori Spady is a senior from Marquette, Mich. She will graduate with a BFA in Graphic Design this May.