http://www.ProvenMen.org

Proven Men Ministries

Graphic Design Intern

August - December 2020 • Lynchburg, VA

What I liked

I liked that I was given the respect and space necessary to work effectively. Almost more, I liked the flexibility of the scheduling. I have my own all-in-one PC setup for both gaming and work, and so being forced to go back to working on an old iMac would have been.....bad.. to put it kindly. I was permitted to telework on the vast majority of projects on the systems that I work best with so that I could be both comfortable and work to produce my best product for the Ministry.

What I wish was different

I admittedly didn't learn the things I expected to. Granted, I did learn, and I'll get to that in a second, but more in a business and self-learning sense; not from a mentorship sense. There was no one there who knew Graphic Design better than I did, and for most intents and purposes I took over for all Graphic Design while the creative head of the ministry focused his energy on other big projects. I was hoping to learn from someone who was an expert, but my expectations got subverted in an interesting way because I was forced to become that expert for myself. I had to find a way to be self motivated, self-teaching, better critical thinking and problem solving, and refine my workflow process to avoid burnout. All very valuable things, but not everyone is going to pick the "swim" option when they get put in that sink-or-swim scenario.

Advice

I have two. My biggest piece of advice is to be explicitly, crystal clear when you communicate with your superiors. There are people who think they know what they want, but don't, and there are people who do know what they want but have no idea how to communicate that to you because they know nothing about design. Be patient, be clear, pick their brains a bit. Be willing to compromise on your vision for a design, because they very well may not have the same vision in mind. Second is a workflow thing. I know some people can just tap into their flow-state and go nuts, but for people like me who get burnt out, for whatever reason- boredom, amount of focus needed, lack of morale, feeling like ____ isn't a priority, whatever -take this advice. TAKE. BREAKS. It sounds so counter intuitive to say, but the best thing I ever did for my ability to work effectively was to stop working. The moment you feel like you're just slogging through the mud and dragging yourself through work, stop. Take a few, heck take 30 if you can, and do literally anything else. When you get back to it, you'll have the energy to grind it out again. It made such a huge difference for me. Hope this helps you.
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