It’s been a rough few weeks trying to finish the semester and a lot of ‘ish has gone down. My thesis show has come and gone, wrapping up in the beginning of May. From there I had to finish one last studio project, wrap up my internship, and prepare for Pratt Show and graduation. As many know, I spent the Spring interning at Jonathan Adler. All signs pointed to the internship leading to a long term position. Sadly, that fell apart in the end. My boss worked really hard to make the case for them to keep and pay me, but it just wasn’t in the cards. I felt really let down when I got the news as I worked so hard there. I invested a lot of time and effort into doing my best work for them, and it’s sad when they don’t invest in you in return. I was given to opportunity to keep working through the summer (for free), which I quickly turned down. I would be undervaluing myself as a designer if I agreed to stay. So many graphic designers talk about refusing to do speck work, design competitions, or free work in general. But some of these same companies hire unpaid interns. It’s just sad, we talk about elevating the profession, but many designers are doing that on that backs of unpaid, or low paid interns. I think JA expected me to stay there and work, for the opportunity, but they need to one day realize, if you want good design, you’re going to have to pay for it.
Right before graduation a little thing called Pratt Show popped up. Every year Pratt rents a huge exhibition space in Manhattan where graduates from across the Institute are given space to display their work. While it ended up being a bigger time commitment than expected, I was so happy I did it. I just found this blog post about it, “Work by more than 300 of the Pratt Institute’s most talented students is on display at The Manhattan Center. Pratt Show 2011 features communication design undergraduates; digital arts, jewelry design and interior design students; graphic designers from the associate’s degree program; and graduate industrial design students.” My business cards are featured on this site! Yay for that. Just like the blog says, it was a great opportunity to get our work seen by those in the industry. I ended up with about 6 interviews alone just from Pratt show. I was the only MFA ComD student to participate and it was a missed opportunity for anyone that didn’t do it. I really wish more people in my program did it as I know everyone’s work would have really shined. In all fairness though, we had to apply during one of the busiest times during the semester, so I think it was just bad timing.
My cards featured on Art Observer
My setup at Pratt Show
Me talking to someone during the Friends and Family Opening
I did a bunch of interviews and in the end, I found a place that will hire me part time before I go to Copenhagen. Everyone else wanted to hire someone immediately and I can’t truly work full-time until August. I had a second interview for this one place I’d LOVE to work as I really think it would be a perfect fit, but they want me to check back in August. I just pray something is open then. It’s nice to know people are interested, but I get so resentful when school causes me to miss job opportunities, but I NEED TO FINISH MY DEGREE!
A few days after this, we had graduation. My Dad and friend Meghan flew from NC to attend the ceremony and spend a few days with me. The ceremony in typical Pratt fashion was a bit of a mess, the venue was a huge warehouse on a pier. It was raining, people had to line up and wait outside, and we were herded like cattle through the space. Grad school at Pratt has felt very atypical compared to my four years at Appalachian so I figured participating in this would give me some sort of closure and feeling of accomplishment. I’m happy I did it, but I had no idea the email I was to receive the next morning …
The venue! Pier 94 in Manhattan’s west side.
Where we lined up, who knew backstage would be so glamorous right?
Singing one of many songs during graduation, really funny actually.
Three of my fellow MFA ladies at graduation! Aren’t they pretty??
So why is joy coming back? The day after graduation, I received an email from my thesis committee saying there were “substantial problems” with the materials I submitted for my thesis (ie my exhibition project and my paper). I was scheduled to defend and have my paper signed the next day. One day I’m walking across the stage and “graduating” and 24 hours later I’m held back with no explanation. The next day I met with my committee and for an hour and a half we talked about all the things that were missing. Some mention of ANY of this before that date would have been helpful. As one can see by looking at my blog, I’ve had a thesis exhibition plan designed for MONTHS, and never was I told I needed another project. In the stress and confusion of the semester I feel like I was let go only to be held back at the end. My advisers put all this energy into building a case against me, I just wish they’d used some of that energy to say something sooner. There were ample opportunities. But as they say, what’s done in the dark will someday come to light. I know why (or should I say whom) this whole issue truly steams from, but as my good friend Jason says, don’t be bitter, be better.
So in the interest of not playing the victim card, I have a bit more work to do this summer/possibly this fall, and I should hopefully FINALLY be finished. I just spent an A-MAZING week in North Carolina with a bunch of friends laughing, singing, dancing, hanging on the beach, and celebrating love, friendship and family. It really helped put a lot of this shit in perspective. This too shall pass. I’m not totally sure what project I’ll do in the coming weeks, but I’d like to continue the Joy Projects I was working on. I’m just going to dig deep for a few more weeks and get past this whole mess and close this chapter as soon as possible.