An internship in London followed by another one in the US or Europe with lots of learning, networking, travelling, exploration and gathering research – that was my plan for the DPS year. It’s a known fact that getting a visa to work abroad is quite difficult but DPS was my ticket to internships abroad – on a student visa! It would’ve been an experience like no other. But if there’s anything that the global reset has taught me, it’s that things don’t always go according to plan and there will be situations where NOTHING I do will let me pursue my original plans. While my repatriation flight back home took off, my hopes to work abroad came crashing down. With the restrictions due to coronavirus I didn’t even see myself travelling domestically for internships, let alone internationally. I knew there was no going back to London before end of the year, and that is me being overly optimistic about things.
“What now? Should I not do DPS? Should I take a gap year instead? Can I not do the same things I intended on doing during DPS on a gap year?” These were a few questions that I constantly had on my mind in June. After talking with my tutors and parents (since they’re the ones sponsoring my education) I decided to go ahead with DPS but with that came a new set of questions.
“How should I go about things now? Is my portfolio good enough? Will I get an internship? Is it going to be worth it? What’s next? “
Despite being uncertain about what the year now held for me, I was determined to make DPS year worthwhile. While I prepared to build my portfolio and researched for internships, I simultaneously took part in the modUAL workshop. It was a five day workshop and was an interesting experience. It made me excited and stressed at the same time! It allowed me to meet and brainstorm ideas with a number of people and coming up with a pitch in just two and a half days was definitely an achievement. Collaborative projects aren’t always easy. There were disagreements, contradicting critiques and a there even came a point when we decided to scrap our idea and start afresh with only a day to spare!
This is one of the outcomes of the pitch we made for modUAL. You can also find the pitch video here.
The process of making a portfolio took way longer than I expected. Sending out applications was nerve wrecking and not getting any replies was way worse than rejection. Rejection – I was prepared for, but who likes being ghosted?
Come August, I got an internship with a reputed company in India, PeeSafe. PeeSafe was incepted post the troubles of a woman while visiting a public washroom. Gradually, they identified the need and began producing many hygiene essentials as well as talk about things that are usually hushed in our society. I personally use and love their products so I was really excited for this internship. However, it wasn’t what I expected. 95% of the work I did was making story sets for their Instagram. It became monotonous after a while. Other times, it was tasks like downloading images from their website and organising them. There were days with no work at all. And what disappointed me the most was the absence of meeting new people. Their office was in a different city and only a few people, including me, were working from home. My contact was limited to the head designer who assigned tasks for me.
Reflecting back on this internship, most of my thoughts were negative, however, I remembered a conversation I had with Mr. Vikas, the co-founder of PeeSafe. I had mentioned that I didn’t have experience with social media to which he replied that that is exactly why I was an intern and not an employee. I had the free pass to make mistakes and learn from it. I had the freedom to acknowledge that I didn’t know how to do certain things and use this opportunity to change that. On further reflection I realised that while this internship was not what I hoped for, it helped me brush up my skills of after effects and increased my knowledge of design for social media. This internship made me resonate with the idea of working in smaller companies in studios. While more renowned companies “look good” on the CV, real learning happens within a community.
“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller
So, when the opportunity came knocking, I took it. Design Piñata, a studio I interned with for a short period last year, approached me with a job offer. I didn’t even have to think twice to accept it. Design Piñata is a reputed studio in Kolkata that was established over a decade ago. We are small team of 6 people. They get a range of design projects from branding to social media to editorial design. Branding was one thing I hadn’t explored much and most of the projects I’ve been doing now are just that. I sure do love it! Within just a week of working, I had learnt so much about logo design. The ways to research for concept development, nitty-gritty details that I would have otherwise overlooked and certain dos and don’ts. Designing a good logo, it’s no cakewalk. Avanti, the founder and creative director, has been with me through this journey as my mentor. I appreciate her letting me lead a lot of projects and at the same time acknowledging that it’s still my first time, that I’m still learning and that I will make mistakes. While its work from home at the moment, the team often gets on video call together to talk through projects and even celebrate when needed. We plan to work from the studio at least twice a week soon and I can’t wait.
As of now, I’m still hopeful that I’ll be able to do an internship abroad – one that’s not work from home. If the situation allows, maybe by early 2021. If not, that’s ok too. I’ve accepted the situation and I know whatever I do instead of that ‘international internship’, it will in some way or the other help shape my creative journey – might not be the way I hoped but maybe it’ll be for the better. Who knows?
What New Agency comes from a complete global reset, you ask? Its:
And most importantly, new optimism.
Muskaan Sethia | Graphic & Media Design