Almost two years ago, I walked into my office for my first day on the job. I was hired as the Graphic Designer at Adrian College in the PR Office. I was nervous, excited and had no idea how much I was about to learn over the next two years.
Fast forward to the present day. I still sit in the same desk, and in the same office that I did on that first day. The difference it is now filled with picture frames of family and friends, and trinkets that make me smile. Some of my favorite pieces of art-work are hung on the wall and my desk always seems to be in a mess of papers and covered with to-do lists. I always have a cup of tea nearby, chocolate stashed in my desk or out in a little bowl for everyone to grab a piece. Looking around my office now, I realize just how much I have grown and learned in the past years. From deadlines to meetings and everything in between, it's amazing to see where I have come.
I remember feeling so proud to be called a Graphic Designer on that first day of work. What I didn’t know was that I was far from actually being one. In school, I went to all my classes, did every assignment and got A’s on everything. I loved what I did and thought I was ready. What more could there be? Well, I was astonished by how much I didn’t know when I entered the field. It was overwhelming! Paper samples, printing in CMYK, PMS codes for color, and on and on. What was all this foreign talk? We never did print work that was meant for a bigger purpose in class and I was at a lost. I also quickly learned that projects I am doing now are actually getting seen and used by people… lots of people. If I made a mistake, then that was how it went out to everybody and I would be the one at fault. As a new designer, it made me nervous and after my fair share of mistakes, I started to be extra careful and realize the magnitude of my work. As the years went on, I learned more about each of the Adobe programs I worked with on a daily basis. I began working closely with the printing companies to gain knowledge about the proper way to print and became familiar with their strange terms.
While I developed my skills and abilities in design, I also learned what it was like to be in the work force. Its nothing like college and no one can prepare you for what to do and how to act in every situation. It just takes time and a willingness to adapt and grow as a person. Its crucial to rely on those around you and take their advice. The days are long and I never realized how tired someone could be from sitting in a desk all day. Creativity can be exhausting. But my coworkers make it fun and I enjoy getting to work with and mentor the student workers. We have many laughs in the day and so many inside jokes. Those are the parts of the job you don’t expect to have and are a nice surprise. And I am quickly developing people skills, and turning into a more outgoing personality. I have always been more shy and introverted but working with people everyday has really changed how I view others and my reactions toward them. I have also been able to see the best and worst in people in a job and have learned how to work in many various situations. Its tough, and something I am continuously working on getting better at. The work field is made of so many different personalities that it's both fun and frustrating. Overtime, I have realized that you can’t be so trustworthy of people but that you also have to respect and appreciate everyone you work with.
It's only been two years but two years filled with growth, mistakes, success, friendships, frustrations, and enjoyment. I know I still have so much more to learn and will always be working to strengthen both my abilities in the field and my people skills. It will probably be many years before I fully understand the working world. I do know, though, that I am not the same person who stepped into this office two years ago. I am proud of what I have accomplished and the progression I have made as a person and designer.
- Christina Butler