"Tether your different skills & hobbies. If you’re like me and are having trouble choosing between two different career pathways, don’t fret. They may have more in common than you think. For example, graphic design is an essential part of marketing and branding in the music industry."
Artwork I created for my song "confessions (to your lost youth)
My career roadmap has been somewhat defined.
As a kid, I used to do a lot of drawing with graphite. I became exceptionally skilled at shading and grew very fond of architecture. This set me on a path to a career in the field of the arts, specifically architecture.
When I was 11, I had a musical awakening and became highly interested in audio editing. I would spend hours tinkering with my favorite songs with sound effects like reverb, delay, & equalization.
My passion for music became a passion for playing/creating music in middle school. I joined the school choir & band, and I taught myself how to play the piano & guitar. Thus, my main creative interests/hobbies narrowed down to visual & performative art.
During my freshman year of high school, I started learning how to produce my own music using the program FL Studio. I also began writing my own songs that reflected my personal experiences. Building on this skill helped me better express myself through creative means and cope with the stresses in my life.
In junior year, I joined Yearbook at AOC where I had hands-on experience designing page layouts and collaborating with peers. This was my first exposure to the kind of social setting designers often work in. I later went on to design the yearbook cover for the 2019-2020 school year.
I grew infatuated with the artworks of my favorite albums and how my favorite artists utilized aesthetics & visual branding to express & market themselves through means other than sound. Designing typographic posters for my favorite songs & my own music became a common pastime for me.
As with many others during this time of our lives, I received pressure from my family to pursue a “safer” career choice, such as nursing. But through further research, I found UX/UI Design to be a good compromise that centered on design yet had considerable job growth and demand compared to other design careers.
Here are my extracurriculars relevant to this pathway
DURING MY HIGH SCHOOL CAREER
Typographic/Poster Design with experience in Adobe Ps, Ai, & Lr
Designer/Editor in AOC Yearbook for my junior & senior year
Music production/songwriting utilizing FL Studio
Video Editing/graphics in Sony Vegas & Adobe AE
DURING MY COLLEGE CAREER
Foundation studio arts classes for my major (Drawing, 3D, Motion, & UX Design), as well as other courses focused on the visual composition of design
Photo/Videography for various on-campus clubs
Participation in the Music Entertainment Industry Club at Cal Poly Pomona (performance/gig organizing/poster design)
What I'm currently doing/hope to do
I am currently working towards a degree in Visual Communication Design at Cal Poly Pomona. On the side, I plan on building my skills and my portfolio through workshops and internships so I can pursue a career in user experience/user interface design. In broader terms, UX/UI Design as a career involves the creation of interactive media as products based on a client’s requests. Problem solving is an essential part of this career and involves a lot of teamwork. You will often have to work with others on a project and face heavy criticism of your ideas. A portfolio representing your work is necessary for attracting employers and establishing yourself as a designer. A consistent following of current design trends will greatly benefit your work and keep you competitive. In the future, I hope to build name recognition by working in various startups before landing a job designing for either major tech companies like Google or house name companies in the music industry such as Live Nation Entertainment or major record labels.
How to maximize my time in high school?
Advice #1: Slow down, seriously. Focus less on taking common COC classes and more on exploring. As a design major, STEM courses like Calculus or Chemistry don’t really play a role in building your design or career skills despite how tempting it may be to follow your peers. Design is a very broad field and high school is a good time for you to really figure out what you want to do in that field, or if you even want to major in design at all.
Advice #2: Do not be afraid to take the lead on group projects. Leadership skills are essential in any collaborative design setting. It is also good for learning how to build proper relationships with collaborative partners.
Advice #3: Tether your different skills & hobbies. If you’re like me and are having trouble choosing between two different career pathways, don’t fret. They may have more in common than you think. For example, graphic design is an essential part of marketing and branding in the music industry.
Advice #4: Join AOC Yearbook. You may not have as much creative freedom as you may hope for, but it really helps in building team skills and offers a close resemblance to a real designer working environment.
Advice #5: This is not career related but—Please at least try to have somewhat of a social life. Go out with your friends in your free time. Visit places. Try new things. Have fun. Despite technically being in college, you are still teenagers. These kinds of experiences can be equally important to your personal development as your academics. You won’t regret looking back over your high school experience as being defined by happy memories rather than your academic stresses.