Hello everyone! Lauren Mays here from the RIT Graphic Design BFA program. Following my junior year, I worked at Butler/Till during the summer session. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. As the creative intern for The Strong National Museum of Play’s latest advertising campaign, I met so many fantastic people and learned more than I ever expected.

So how did I get there? Barely. Let’s just say I barely got there.

I worked hard, applied to as many jobs as I could, but still struggled. You’ve heard the phrase, “fake it till you make it,” right? Yeah, I’m a horrible actress. Anything I’m thinking or worrying about, I guarantee you’ll be able to read it all over my face. Interviewing and public speaking are my absolute worst skills. I couldn’t stand it, and the only way I could get better was to practice constantly. Even this year I feel like I’ve gotten loads better, but I still have a lot to work on. I’m not perfect, and I think I forgot that I didn’t have to try so hard to appear like I was. I screwed up, a lot.

And if you don’t believe me, here’s a little mishap while I was interviewing with Butler/Till.

Interviewer: “So, if you were a cereal, what kind would you be and why?”

Me: “Umm…I think I’d be Frosted Flakes because I’m sweet and I make milk super tasty, maybe?”

Is it appropriate to do a face palm in an interview? At that point, I thought the world might as well just end. What I soon learned though was you’re only human. What I needed to understand is those flaws can be easily overshadowed by your accomplishments and authenticity. We work so hard to make our portfolios, resumes, website, and appearances absolutely pristine, but that’s not the whole story. So just remember this: don’t hide who you are. Be proud, but be humble. Listen to advice and criticism, but don’t let it bring you down. Understand that you’re not perfect and you have room to grow. Never stop wanting to be better, but be happy with who you are now. You’ve made it this far, so why sell yourself short?

For those of you getting ready for that internship and job hunt, good luck, I know you’ll do great.

—Lauren Mays RIT School of Design, 2017

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