I know the pain. Senior year is full of work but it’ll fly by.
Yes! I worked on NSAC as a Creative Director my senior year, too. The client was Pizza Hut (they really know how to pick non-glamorous clients, don’t they? Haha). I believe we also came in third that year… haha.
Japan is good! Full of crazy challenges, of course. Japan does a lot of things well, but has it’s share of issues like any other place. It’s definitely not too friendly to outsiders (as in, it’s hard to find books or much of anything in a language other than Japanese). Finding an apartment and setting up a bank account can be frustrating for a foreigner. Over time, you kind of learn to just accept a lot of random stuff when you move to a place like that.
As for me, I’m trying to learn the language and adjust as much as I can. It’s going well, but certainly isn’t always very fun. It can feel very isolating—but I came here for the challenge, so I can’t complain ;)
Outside of Japan, advertising happened on accident. I had some experience in college (with NSAC, obviously) but am a designer through and through.
I’ve been struggling a bit with that lately. I’m really looking forward to get out of advertising and try to get back into a brand studio. Advertising can be really gratifying, but can also be a lot of egos from people with bad ideas.
As cliche as it sounds, my advice would be to follow your heart. You’ll know when something feels like something you want—don’t let the offer or company name persuade you if it doesn’t line up with what you want.
As for struggles, I’ll give you a short memoir, haha.
My senior year was the hardest by far and I almost left design all together. I felt massively un-talented and every project felt painful to begin. I felt like I lost all my steam. I managed to get myself together enough to land an internship in LA that I wasn’t excited about.
Right after I graduated, I was turned down for a position at Google. I had the first interview for it on my 22nd birthday and it’s Google and the interview process lasted a month and a half. So that was soul-crushing. I remember crying in the parking lot to my dad and he told me, “Well, you have the rest of your life to get a job at Google.”
Around that time, I was also sued by a crazy roommate for rent, turned down an offer from my internship with nothing lined up, lived on the floor in LA with a single mom, was let go from a job because I didn’t know Adobe Flash, and worked remotely for a company designing keynote presentations for random start ups in China.
Meanwhile, a lot of my classmates were landing jobs at Instagram, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and Google—making like five times as much money as me. I can send you a screenshot of the 200+ emails I sent out to companies looking for a job. Almost all of them didn’t answer, and the ones that did, told me I was too junior.
I share all that to say—it was definitely not the easy-going, glamorous post-grad life they promise you when you have talent. Sometimes it really bites, but if you put in the effort and remain open to learning, you’ll be able to tell an incredible story. And all artists are suckers for a good story ;)
By the time I was interviewed by AKQA, I had literally given 150 or so interviews. I paced around a parking lot and talked them through my portfolio from memory. I didn’t take it seriously because I had been turned down by so many companies. But here we are :)
So, I would say now, a lot of companies are going to look at you and see your years of experience. But some won’t, you just gotta know it isn’t personal and push through. It’ll be worth it.