Holy cow, do I ever have a lot to update you guys on… It's definitely been a while. Although my last semester in college was truly an eventful one, I'll try to be as brief as possible so I don't put you to sleep, haha.PORTFOLIO EXHIBITION
The biggest thing this semester for seniors in graphic design (indeed, probably bigger than graduation itself) was our end-of-the-year portfolio exhibition—which came out amazingly well. Our class put on quite the production! Each of us were asked to feature our 10-12 best works in a top-notch portfolio, but the work didn't stop there. Every project had to be explained in detail in our process books, which contained all of our preliminary sketches, step-by-step images, and 200 word descriptions. Also, if possible, our projects needed to be put on physical display in the portfolio show if they were physically produced. Moreover, we needed professional business cards, résumés, design statements, and some sort of takeaway for those attending the event. In addition to all of this work, we were still working on new projects to put in the show as we approached it, so it was definitely a race to the finish. We all gave up hours and hours of sleep to ensure that the show was the very best that it could be, and our hard work paid off immensely. We had a huge turnout consisting of students, faculty, professional designers, and passersby who told us that they never knew graphic design was this involved or this professional. Well, at least everyone except the graphic designers told us that. We were elated by all the recognition!
For me, personally, the pressure was definitely on. If you read my previous journal entry, then you know that I was awarded a $5,000 scholarship from the university in preparation for this event. Since that money was only given to one student, I was expected to have an excellent portfolio in the spring because I had the funds to go above and beyond. It was a blessing and a curse at times, but I didn't hold back—I made sure that every cent counted. I had a professional portfolio box, screwpost book, and binder custom designed by kdbooks.com
for over $1,000 and it was absolutely worth it. She was able to letterpress my "SC" logo onto the front of the box and put other letterpress accents on the book and binder, which was heavenly. To top it all off, everything I ordered came in my branding colors and looked spectacular. The rest of the money was divided among the various other costs: buying my own domain for my personal website, paying for the cost of printing all of my work, ordering custom takeaways, etc. I really do need to upload a picture of my final portfolio for you guys. I'd say the most exciting thing about my spread at the show were the 250 Belgian dark chocolate squares that I had engraved with my logo as takeaways! I still have about 100 or so left, lol.
What we all didn't know about the show was that it was juried. Gulp! They surprised us during the award segment that a first, second, and third place was going to be awarded for "Best in Show." None of us knew that this was going on. We knew that I would be given a framed certificate for winning the scholarship back in December, but nothing about this. They announced it right then and there in front of the crowd of spectators and I was beyond excited to receive the first place award. I was actually really thankful because it meant that they thought I had used the money well and deserved the praise. It was truly a night to remember! Actually, that entire week was unforgettable—all of our portfolios were on display in the university's gallery for a week, so we felt like pro's for five days. The next day, I attended the thesis show for a design and marketing school in the big city (I won't say exactly where so I don't offend anyone) and was seriously unimpressed by their work. I was graduating from a small, Christian, liberal arts school and our work was better than this prestigious art college. It really brought things into perspective for me and reminded me that the caliber of your work doesn't depend on where you go to school. If you love your major and invest yourself in the work, anything is possible. Especially excellence.COLLEGE GRADUATION
After all of that beautiful chaos, we still had finals and graduation to deal with, lol. My finals were incredibly mild compared to some because I purposefully engineered my senior year to finish that way; I took all of the academic core classes the previous year and ended with only studio art or design classes. Those of you who have taken studio classes know that they are, in some respects, actually more work than regular classes with exams and while I agree, I would rather be working on a project than studying for an exam any day. I finished out the week and arrived quite suddenly at graduation. It felt totally surreal. This event is something people talk about, but I never really thought it would happen (it's been two weeks and I'm still in shock). I guess it finally hit me when my diploma arrived in the mail the other day and I got to hold it in my hands: Sara Christensen, Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design, Summa Cum Laude
. You bet I'm going to frame that sucker and stick it up on my wall. It feels amazing to have attained what I've been working toward for the past five years. Badass diploma? Check.
One thing that I was not anticipating was how hard it was to say goodbye. I made so many friends who were juniors and sophomores and it just killed me to leave. I knew that I probably wouldn't be seeing them again for a long time since I live so far away and this fact somehow escaped me until finals week. There were definitely some good cry-fests in there… I even got emotional saying goodbye to my professors. I do know that I've been invited back by my design professor as a guest judge for the scholarship review in December (which is weird since I would basically be helping them decide who gets the award I received last year) and that I will most certainly be coming back in the spring to see what the incoming seniors put together for their final show, but it's still a long time. My two years at this school have been just amazing and I could not have hoped for a better college experience. I've made lifelong friends, been mentored by phenomenal artists, and come out of it with all the experience necessary to make it as a professional. It was the ride of my life and I will miss it greatly.LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
In the two weeks since graduation, I have kept myself quite busy. My university wanted some t-shirts designed for their summer events, so they contacted me and I am just finishing up that job for them now. As soon as that's over, I will begin work on the re-branding of a chiropractic firm. As a class this spring, we helped redesign their identity and they elected me as the creative director for the rest of the project. Now that I've graduated, they are going to be my first big contract job and I will be working with them over the next month or so on their corporate overhaul. It's intense! Beyond the branding manual and business stationery, there are certificates, flyers, website headers, info sheets, brochures, etc. that need to be done, so it's a lot more comprehensive than I thought and should keep me pretty busy. After that, I'll begin my formal job hunting. I've recently updated my résumé and website, which can be found here on my new domain: sarachristensen.me
, and I will be sending those out as I apply for work. I'm hoping to become a junior designer at a local firm and while most of them aren't hiring at this point in time, I'm going to email them anyway just to get my foot in the door and my name on their lips. Hopefully, they'll take notice of me that way.
In other news, I've moved across the country. Yep. I no longer live in the Seattle area and have relocated to a city just south of Asheville in North Carolina. So far, I really, really like it here. The scenery is gorgeous (the Blue Ridge Mountains in particular), the weather and wildlife are just wonderful, and the culture is not unlike the Pacific Northwest so I feel right at home. I was worried about moving so far south, but thankfully Asheville and the outlying cities are quite liberal in comparison to the rest of the state (unlike Ohio, which continually hated on my left-wing opinions). I can't say that I've been everywhere or experienced everything yet, obviously, but it really has been a treat so far. Even when we got lost in the mountains at night in the middle of a giant storm and nearly ran out of gas, lol. What I really need to work on is not raising my eyebrow every time I hear a southern accent, it just sounds so weird to me! But seriously, we could not ask for nicer people to be around. Now, all we have to do is get out of this rental house and find a place of our own closer to Asheville so that I can live at home and commute into work. That's the plan: live at home and pay off these monstrous college loans. Unfortunately, that scholarship money is all gone now and I'm on my own. We'll see how far my talents will take me!HOUSEKEEPING
Aside from the portfolio exhibition photos that I plan on uploading, there really isn't a lot of work to share with you guys. I'll see if I can upload the chiropractic branding materials if I get their permission, but that's it in the way of graphic design. That being said, I do have some very interesting sculpture and painting work that I want to take pictures of and upload here for you guys. I've already got a few projects ready to submit here, I just have to take the time to write descriptions for them. There are definitely a few that I am particularly excited about sharing with you and I think it will be fun to see something really different from me for once, haha.
I've worked through most of the deviations in my inbox, so if you still haven't heard from me in that respect it means that I'm on my way! The ones that I have left require thoughtful comments and I didn't want to do that until I had the time and mental capability to do so. Believe it or not, graduating college was exhausting and I've been doing a lot of sleeping and hiding from the world these past two weeks. As of right now, consider me back in full swing. I have my energy back, I have design work to do, and I definitely have a summer to enjoy, so you can expect to see me on this site daily. I miss being a more active participant in this supportive community. ^^
Anyway, I hope everyone is well and I look forward to seeing what's been going on in my long absence! Happy summer!!! <3Thanks for viewing, faving, sharing, praising, chatting, and watching,