The Walter Center Success Network recently launched a new feature — WCSN Projects. This new feature allows College of Arts + Sciences students work directly with College alumni on various projects so the student can gain valuable new skills and work experience. Mistee Saylor, a senior studying Media Advertising, recently worked with alumnus Aaron Coleman to design a logo for his human resources company.
What was your experience like working with an alum?
I think it was nice to work with alums — they were very friendly and helpful during the process. They understood that I was a student with other obligations as well, and they were happy to connect me with others that I might gain more experience from.
What were some of the most rewarding parts of the experience?
The experience I’ve gained has been really rewarding. I’m a senior, and I wasn’t able to get an internship when I had planned to due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so I was actually excited to learn about the Projects section on WCSN. It allowed me to practice design in a setting outside of the classroom and go through a more professional process of designing something for an actual client. Another huge bonus is that I’ve actually made money from this, and I did not expect that. My project with Aaron Coleman was unpaid, but after I completed it he paid me anyways as a thank you. I also accepted the paid logo job with David Anderson. After some back and forth, we’ve landed on a logo design, and he is now paying me to continue to do more design work for his company.
How did this experience impact you personally and professionally?
Personally, I would say these projects did increase my confidence in my skills and my motivation. Professionally, I’ve gained contacts in my network and have real-world examples to use on my resume. I’d also never worked with a “client” before, so I had to learn some things about how exactly I needed to go about presenting things to them.
What would you like to have known before starting this project? What would you tell others before they start a project through the WCSN?
I wish I had known a little more about freelancing, since that is, in a way, what I’ve been doing. Since I’ve only made designs for my classes, I had no idea how to approach going through a logo design and branding process in the correct professional way. I was also asked what I would charge for a certain amount of work, and I was really very unsure how to answer the question. I would tell others to try to have a good handle on what kind of skills they’ll need to complete a project, and make sure you can teach yourself whatever pieces you may be missing. Also, it would be helpful to have some friends or professors that you’re able to ask questions.
Did working on this project help you better understand your career goals?
Yes! I was pretty sure I wanted to go into graphic design and I knew it was something I could enjoy, but I wasn’t sure how realistic that was for me since I had absolutely zero experience with it outside of a classroom. Like I said earlier, being chosen to do these projects for these people, going through the design process, and having them actually enjoy what I created and paying me for it was a confidence boost. I realized that it was something I could actually enjoy doing after graduation with success.