It’s November of senior fall, which means I’m in full get-ready-for-life-after-Hopkins mode. I’m graduating a semester early (meaning I only have 4 weeks left of college??), too, so things have been a bit hectic to say the least.
To give a life update—I decided that I want to pursue a career in design, and hopefully that career starts somewhere focused in information design and data visualization. For now, we’ll leave it at that, but I will most likely be writing about the crazy journey that got me to this point in the near future.
My career goals are somewhat unique compared to the typical Hopkins student, and this is something I had been thinking about a lot recently. I’m pursuing a career a bit different from what I’m majoring in… how do I best go about preparing for post-grad life? This was actually something that I was able to talk about in depth with other Hopkins seniors and some returning alumni at an event I attended this past weekend, the Seniors and Young Alumni Leadership Symposium.
Organized by the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association, the Symposium brought together JHU seniors and young alumni to learn from one another. Seniors were able to meet a ton of alumni, learn about what they’re up to now, and get help in all things related to figuring out our post-Hopkins lives. Most helpful to me was a breakout session I attended that day, titled “Embarking On A Career Different From Your Major”. Before the session, I definitely felt like I was pretty alone in my struggle of trying to pursue a more non-traditional career path. But to my comfort, the session was attended by a ton of seniors like me. We shared our career goals, and alongside design, there were Hopkins seniors who wanted to pursue fashion, human resources, and even baking! Who said all Hopkins students want to go into consulting?
The alums who helped lead the session were extremely comforting to me as well. These three women told us about their unconventional journeys that led them to work completely unrelated to what they majored in, and gave us some best practices in how to make the most of our time left at Hopkins in pursuit of these career efforts. It really was just quite nice to see that it’ll all be okay after Hopkins, that we’ll find success even if our path to it is a little less linear.
The biggest takeaway from it all might have been just the reassurance that our time at Hopkins was not for nothing. Even though I’m trying to pursue a career in design, I absolutely do not regret that I majored in applied mathematics! Learning about statistics and data science through my department helped get me on my current path thanks to my early exposure to the world of data visualization. Specific courses I’ve taken at Hopkins have influenced me immensely: Anthropology of Design, Data Visualization for Individualized Health, and Introduction to Video Game Design, just to name a few. In fact, all of the classes I’ve taken have contributed to my success by teaching me how to communicate my ideas (both through writing and through speaking), how to work in a team, how to problem solve and think critically. And without even thinking of it, over these last 3.5 years at Hopkins, I was able to curate a portfolio full of design work for student organizations I was a part of or did freelance work for, even picking up some new tools, like Adobe After Effects and new skills, like mobile app wireframing.
Any time I get outside of classwork is dedicated to this design portfolio, either working on my website to host it, writing copy to describe my work, or working on some projects themselves to go in my portfolio. Here’s some projects I’m currently working on:
VIDEO GAME ART
This one’s actually for a class I’m in! In Introduction to Video Game Design (a Computer Science course), we work in teams to develop a 2D top-down action/adventure game as a semester-long project. I’m doing all of the artwork for my team, meaning I spend my time designing character sprites, attack animations, level maps, and the user interface for the game. We have full creative control over our games, and my team’s revolves around a chef who’s restaurant has been ransacked by evil rats.
A couple friends of mine are applying for a grant for their start-up through a Hopkins fund, and recruited me to help make some prototypes for their potential app. The app helps people find out about interesting events happening around them, with a focus on young urbanites. Take a look at what the prototype looks like here.
This semester, I’ve taken on a couple of different projects related to branding. I work in communications at admissions, so I help design materials for the office that adhere to the JHU brand identity. I also was honored to design the logo for my friend for a student organization he just started, the Indigenous Students at Hopkins. Other random projects I’ve taken on: social media graphics for a Hopkins sorority philanthropy event, a logo for a local D.C. band that consists of a handful of JHU alumni, and the brand identity for a start-up founded by some current Hopkins students.
I’m doing quite a lot, come to think of it! And despite what you might think about trying to do design at Hopkins, I wouldn’t have been able to get my hands on any of these design projects without being a Hopkins student. So in these next 4 weeks of being an undergrad, as I work relentlessly on my portfolio and in my classwork, I’ll remember how lucky I am to have had such a life-changing last 3.5 years at Hopkins.