Sit down comfortably my dear reader. I am about to tell you a kind of a boring story.
My greatest wish for the DPS year was to get out of my comfort zone and combat my fear of rejection. My whole time at school I have been taught that the time you were given to live can be divided into following orders, rest and sleep. Any initiative of mine would be discouraged, since it was consuming a precious time I could use for studying. Whenever I was not concerned about a B, or C when I was not interested in the subject, I was taught that I should be, that the numerical validation of my accomplishments is the highest good in this world. With this in mind I indeed grew up being an A student most of my life and acing my finals. Though at the university I quickly realized that I am only good at following orders and learn-pass-forgetting. Even in my drawing, which I am objectively good at, I can only recreate on paper what's in front of me. I believed there only are two types of interpersonal contacts: ones I do not care about and ones I fear.
And the sandwich year at the university was supposed to change everything. I knew I would have to write a lot of e-mails, be rejected more times than accepted and prove my skills confidently, rather than ask for feedback on them.
I have had very high hopes and big plans. I wrote down a list of companies I would love to collaborate with. I knew I was going to design and paint a mural on a school my friend is a principal at in Zambia, then stay in London for 3 months, fly to Singapore for a MUN conference, from there either stay in Singapore and find an internship there, or go to Australia, stay with my friends and try there.
But then the pandemic came and verified everything.
Although DPS was supposed to be about leaving my comfort zone, staying in a foreign country in these tricky times seemed too far beyond that. So knowing that I certainly will not be able to travel, I decided to stay in Poland. Looking for an internship I have contacted all of the companies I have listed previously, mostly magazines and cultural/educational initiatives I believed in, I have quickly realized that finding an opportunity when most companies struggle to keep their existing employees will be very difficult. Although I have sent countless applications, I received very few responses. All negative. My dream workplace, a particular children's magazine, even wrote that I am just perfect for their team, buy they cannot take the risk of admitting someone new and since they work remotely, they would not be able to make it an educative experience. I even considered resigning off the DPS. I did not feel excited and motivated about it anymore, but an online senior year seemed like an even worse perspective.
I ended up getting an unpaid internship at a local advertising agency. Through someone I know, who knew someone, who knew someone. They had big clients, including the largest local and international companies operating in Poland, but their works were not too impressive. They were very mainstream and classic, as if the company was still in 2010. But at that particular moment, after a month-long fruitless job hunt, I was excited to start working ANYWHERE.
I was greeted at the office by another graphic designer of the company. At all times we had to stay 4 meters apart. He told me straight forward to "abandon any hope". "Do you know why there is so much ugly design out there? Because clients are morons! They tell you they want genius and innovative solutions, yet what they expect is the most basic crap you see on cheap chocolate packaging! You want my advice? Just design what everyone else does. Do not strive to be creative, cause there's no point. The sooner you learn that, the better.".
My first tasks have been purely manual. Demanded knowing my way around the software and absolutely no creativity - finding logos of fifty listed companies, putting them in a stencil file and filling another file with data of people from another list.
Then I have been asked to design a couple of Facebook and LinkedIn posts for a company specializing in logistics. My father's competitor. I have prepared four layouts. They have decided on the one that in my opinion was the worst and asked me to make some changes making it look even worse and less professional.
On the day after telling my friend how much I hate Christmas commercials and the entire festival of capitalism and vanity around the second most important holiday in Christianity, I have been assigned making a Christmas banner for a company selling car parts. "Buying a set for at least £200, you'll get a £10 gift card to your chosen shop!".
This week on the other hand I have been working on an ad for a quality meat certificate. Me. A vegan.
That very moment I realized that to me DPS has become everything I did not want it to be. For the last month I have been working on projects I did not believe in, at a job that is all about fulfilling orders and receiving feedback. I am not saying that this professional experience has not taught me anything. It did teach me a lot. I got to know how an advertising agency works from the inside, I got to work with really big companies, although everything I do is very comfortable and regular. It has nothing to do with what I have planned for this year.
Two weeks ago, after the number of cases in Poland has skyrocketed, we have all been sent on home office. Welcome to mine.
One of my projects that have not been accepted.
Working as a graphic designer for an agency. Expectations vsa reality.