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4 Things I Learned During My Shadowship

April 24, 2018

A letter by: Deanna Powell about her three week shadowship with the Drift crew.

I got to shadow the Drift team for 3 weeks. What is Shadowing you ask? And why spend your time doing it?

Like many people, I have spent my post-grad trying on different career hats including Sales, Public Relations, and Customer Service. I severely dislike all of these jobs for what is now an obvious reason: I went into every job with false, overly romanticized expectations. Oh sales? I love talking to people! Therefore I will love Sales! Wrong. You see a few things on a job description that may interest you, ignore the bad company ratings on Glassdoor.com, and somehow find yourself signing your name on a dotted line because you think you’re parents will be proud of your responsible, yet utterly ordinary choice.

Although all of my job choices would say otherwise, I am dreaming to learn graphic design. But like a lot of people fresh into their twenties, I have been too scared to just go for it. So, it only made sense to ask the Drift team, a well known, respected branding and marketing agency in Aggieland, if they would allow me to come peek into the real world of a graphic design team; if they would allow me to shadow them. Because wouldn’t it be validating to know I don’t have false expectations for not just a job, but a dream?

I wanted to see the real deal. What does it actually take to be apart of a design team? What are the pits and peaks of the job? What does 9-5 look like? I got to see first hand during my shadowship. And below are some key take-aways that I want to share with you.

  1. Fun is a must.

You can’t expect creativity to flow openly in a group setting if you aren’t able to let loose. Whether it’s wearing your favorite onesie to work, or going out of your way to create an epic serious of never-before-seen high fives, you have to enjoy the company of those around you. If you are currently in a creative rut, just have a little fun, and watch your creative ideas grow.

  1. Graphic design school is a good answer, but not the only answer.

Personally, I have always loved the thought of going to school, and I still do. But what I know now is that I can’t go into school just expecting it spit me out a graphic designer. At the end of the day, what gets you into this field is continually creating and pushing your own boundaries. Something that you technically don’t need school for.

  1. Graphic design is more than just making a pretty picture.

Brands don’t just consist of pretty typefaces, logos, and perfectly photoshopped pictures. After sitting in multiple brainstorm sessions, what is at the basis of all decision-making is one question: What story are we trying to tell? If you can answer that question when looking at your work, then you’re doing something right.

  1. Get Creative (outside of the job).

Team members at Drift actively pursue their interests. Whether it’s knitting, DJing, teaching, or producing music, creativity is this team’s lifestyle, not just job. Which allows them to happily walk through the office doors everyday and put forward their best work.

I have gotten an incredible bird’s eye view of what the graphic design job entails. Which makes me confident as I take my first steps towards this career. Of course, the job will look different from one agency to another, but that’s because the people change. However, I believe the four things I’ve learned as a shadow I can carry with me no matter where I go in this field. Which is why I couldn’t suggest a Shadowship more. The outcome? Confidence in my future and a plethora of new mentors who are the Drifting Creatives.

-Deanna Powell

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