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Getting Graphic Design Work Experience
Allowing yourself a chance to step outside the classroom and into the workforce is a crucial component of an aspiring graphic designer's education. You may be a star when presented with projects and tests, but how will you hold up in a hectic professional environment, with micromanaging bosses and urgent deadlines? You don't want to be greeted by a slap in the face when you graduate and migrate over the workforce, so a good option is to ease yourself into it slowly. Find opportunities to get practical, hands-on graphic design experience while you're still in school.
Many colleges offer students the opportunity to work and study simultaneously. While work study can sometimes translate to a Friday-night post at the campus café, there are usually more relevant jobs up for grabs as well. Some of the most useful campus positions are those that allow you to work under the professors who are already experts in graphic design. If you can nab a spot as a teaching assistant, your relationship with your teacher can provide invaluable insight. Other possibilities that graphic design students may consider include becoming a layout and image designer for the college magazine, or working with campus organizations to create posters for their events. Sometimes paid, sometimes not, the chance to get a feel for what it's like to design outside of the classroom is always valuable.
Summer Jobs and Internships
As internships for college students become increasingly popular, it may be easier than you think to find one at a successful graphic design firm. Your art school probably has some sort of network established with affiliated companies and old alumni, and this is the best place to start your summer job hunt. If that fails to turn up any viable options, turn to online resources such as Craiglist and Fastweb for employers looking for a graphic design student. If your search is still unsuccessful, don't despair-working at a restaurant isn't the only remaining option for the rest of the long summer. Why not consider creating your own makeshift business? Plenty of graphic designers sell their wares online. And summer is also the best possible time of year for street festivals, community events, and bazaars. Set up your own booth at one of these functions and find out what it's like to start up a graphic design company from scratch. Who knows? One of these brief summer business ventures could turn you into the next big name in graphic design.
Take a step outside the classroom and shake things up. The college environment, wonderful as it may be, can sometimes suck you into a bubble that doesn't even remotely resemble the real world. But the latter is where you'll have to survive as a professional graphic designer, so find out what it's like to work there as soon as you can.