This past weekend I had the opportunity to participate in one of my favorite annual AIGA Minnesota events—Portfolio 1-on-1. 185 students from a variety of states and universities came to Minneapolis for a jam-packed two-day event of studio tours, panel discussions, workshops and portfolio reviews by professionals in the design community. This was my third year as a portfolio reviewer, but it was my first time being a volunteer with the planning committee that makes this event possible.
My first time experiencing Portfolio 1-on-1 was my junior year of college. Having gone to school in Wisconsin, AIGA and the agency world of Minneapolis wasn't something I had much exposure to. After strong encouragement from my professor, I registered for the event and made the trip to Minneapolis. Looking back on my first event, I'll admit that I experienced culture-shock. The studio tours were my first time seeing what an agency setting was like, I met students from different universities and got a glimpse of what other schools were like, not to mention what the competition was going to be like after graduation, and for the first time I presented my work to three professionals and got a mixed-bag of reviews.
The experience was eye-opening and gave me the motivation I needed to really push myself my senior year. I went back to the event as a senior, a little less terrified and a little more confident and came away with more great insight about how to succeed in the job market after graduation.
The event left such an impact on me, I was thrilled when I was able to sit on the other side of the table and be the professional helping students.
Fast-forward seven years, this past Friday I led a group of 20 students to three different agencies around town: Schermer, Ideas that Kick and Modern Climate. They heard great insight about the design field, they learned what different types of agencies were like to work at, and they got advice for entering the job market after graduation.
On Saturday, I did a full day of portfolio reviews. I met with 8 students for about 25 minutes each. This is my favorite part of the event. I love the opportunity to meet new people who I can identify with so well, share what I have learned throughout my career, and offer insight and mentorship to empower them to achieve their career goals.
The weekend was exhausting, but thrilling. Thank you to everyone involved and I look forward to next year.