From Wayward to Wray Ward: How My Creative Internship Became a Job

  • Categories:

    Agency Life, Creative, Inspiration

  • Date:

    December 20, 2019

From Wayward to Wray Ward: How My Creative Internship Became a Job

Agency Life Creative Inspiration

I am the freak in my family. I mean that in the blithest way, of course, but it’s true. I come from a family of engineers and other left-brainers, so when I announced that I was going to art school, I got a bit of collective eye-rolling. I heard a lot of remarks about being an artist before and during my time at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Although I still get them, I’ve become increasingly confident in my creative career decision. That confidence and job satisfaction comes largely from the lessons I learned as an intern at an agency. This agency.

Here’s a bit of insight and advice from someone lucky enough to get hooked on the first cast and find success in a budding career at Wray Ward.

  1. First bit of advice: nailing down the right major. This is important. I began as an animation major but shifted my focus to graphic design during my sophomore year. Unless you love drawing for endless hours at an animation wheel and battling hand cramps, with an ever-increasing sensitivity to sunlight, I don’t recommend animation. Like I learned from dropping animation, your future happiness depends on choosing a major (ultimately, career) that is going to inspire and challenge you while using your talents to the fullest. You want to feel like you’re in your element daily. College is hard enough to get through even if you feel like you’re a good fit for your program. If you’re feeling otherwise, reconsider whether you’re unsure about or unhappy with the major you’ve chosen. It makes the next steps a lot easier. If you’re feeling totally at ease with your chosen major, awesome, keep going.
  2. Now you’re at the progress loading stage. You’re probably going to worry a lot about your first job and what you’re going to do when you get there. If you’ve chosen a pretty open-ended degree like advertising, the options can seem endless and overwhelming at times. How can you launch into your career when you can’t be sure which style would suit your talents best?

    Answer: internships. Get yourself out into the real world with a non-committal (often paid) trial run in all available options that interest you. I chose Wray Ward due to an industry recommendation. My mentor said, “If you can get in here, that will be the best possible start for you.” My full-time internship with Wray Ward ran from September 2016 to March 2017 and immersed me in the agency world. This extensive timeline played a significant role in building relationships and gaining trust with my team. Once you can determine a favorite career style, preferably before graduation, you’ll face an easier and less stressful job search after you walk the stage.
  3. Congratulations, you’ve convinced a company to babysit you for the next couple of months. Just kidding. You’re going to get a lot of invaluable experience and connections to help further you along in your burgeoning career. This is the time to pay attention and make the most of your time by engaging with the talented professionals within your team. Observe how they organize and handle their workflows, their job standards and expectations. At Wray Ward, I worked on an abundance of real client work — everything from storyboards and illustration projects to vast digital campaigns and concepting work. If you’re a person with more than one defining strength, a place like Wray Ward will recognize and use them all. I had been anxious about having to focus on one talent versus the other, but it turned out I could do both! If this sounds familiar to you, a good internship program like Wray Ward’s allows you to hone your professional strengths and interests. Plus, you’ll discover companies will pay you to draw things for them and how that drawing class ended up being useful after all, thank you very much!

    One of the chief rewards of an internship is watching your work perform in real time, perhaps for the first time. It’s a completely different experience from getting an A on a big project or passing a hard class. If you’re a creator, like I am, it fuels your soul to see your contributions out there in the world and influencing lives. Even if you’re not hired back as a full-time employee, you’ve just strengthened your resume about tenfold with new experiences, professional contacts and recommendations.

A good internship program will immerse you to the point that you’ll forget you’re an intern. If you’re bouncing around, loving life and learning every day, congratulations, you may have found your calling. But if you discovered that the IRL version of what you wanted to do is definitely not for you, you’ve still succeeded. You’re one step closer to finding that dream career.

Are you interested in paving your own path with an internship at Wray Ward? Check out FORM, the agency's paid, eight-week, full-time summer gig. Learn More and Apply

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