Well, it’s that time of year again. The brutally bipolar spring season of the Midwest is drawing to a close, and summer is looming on the horizon. Yet, academic freedom is still very much out-of-reach. With project deadlines and finals week quickly approaching, these next three weeks are sure to be hectic. However, in retrospective the sleeplessness and stress that is about to ensue over the remaining sliver of the school year seems relatively insignificant compared to what I have done this past semester. At the beginning of the semester, I outlined some specific goals to tackle. I believed by accomplishing these I would be able to greatly improve my résumé, and hopefully land an internship for the summer. Fortunately enough, I was able to do just that.
My primary objective for this semester was to build my advertising and graphic design portfolio. With an empty portfolio and a relatively blank résumé, scoring an internship (or even an interview for that matter) at the time was simply unrealistic. Thus, I was extremely excited to begin creating advertising campaigns under the guidance of my advisor, Dr. Jeff Maciejewski, in JRM 347. Throughout the semester, I created print and billboard ads for Husqvarna, Badlands National Park, and the Crescent Moon Ale House located on 36th and Farnam. The process in fact turned out to be far more complex than I expected – it included extensive research, concise creative briefs, and straightforward in-class critiques. At this point in the course, we are now in the revision stage. After fine-tuning my copy and visuals, I am confident I will have a solid collection of ads to begin my portfolio.
Aside from school and my part-time job, I also served as the Creighton men’s basketball graphic design assistant. This role allowed me to produce game-day infographics for the team’s Twitter and Instagram accounts, which actually turned out to be far more rewarding than I expected. As a diehard college basketball fan, I thoroughly enjoyed producing promotional work for a thriving team headed by the man himself, Doug McDermott. More importantly, this position allowed me to compile over a dozen graphic design examples for my portfolio. Although I have been swamped with class projects lately, I plan on redesigning some recruitment materials this summer. I hope that I can keep this position for the remainder of my time here at Creighton. That being said, I am very pleased that I took advantage of this opportunity, and I look forward to the doors it may open down the road.
Yet above all, I learned the most from my JRM 327 Social Media course taught by Dr. Zuegner (I promise I’m not just brownnosing). To be honest, I was not excited to take this class. It’s required for my track of study, and I decided to just get it over with this semester. Personally, I think the course name is misleading – maybe tack the word “marketing”, “journalism”, or “communications” on the end to make it sound more official. But that’s not the point. Much to my surprise, I actually learned way, way, way more than I expected. My perception of social media and its variety of purposes was significantly altered. I knew social media was on the rise; but I had no idea the amount of possibilities it brought to the business world. In class we discussed networking, personal branding, content marketing, SEO, social media policies and plans, effective strategies, ethics, tons of platforms I had never heard of, and much more – all of which I found intriguing and unique. I watched my online presence grow as I became active on several other platforms, especially Linkedin. The weekly blog assignments provided a structured writing schedule that helped me put together a collection of relevant samples I could share with prospective employers. Ultimately, it was my understanding of the information from this course and my blog that led me to be offered by both B2 Interactive and Nuvem Consulting to be each respective company’s content marketing intern. While my advertising and design portfolio received positive feedback, it definitely was overpowered by my understanding of social media, content marketing, and blogging.
All in all, this semester has been a true success. My once nonexistent portfolio is now stacked with samples of work; I landed not one, but two awesome internship offers because of a class I initially didn’t want to take; and I am also about to finish building my personal website for my web design class. Unfortunately, I still need to bottle my excitement a bit longer while I grind out the remaining projects and final exams that will surely control the last few weeks of my sophomore year.