Life as a Summer Intern in NYC

What is it like to live in New York City? What is it like to work in midtown and downtown Manhattan? Living this kind of life seemed out of reach to me before, however, it’s hard to believe that I have been doing it for 2 months now.

This summer, I got an amazing co-op/interning opportunity to work as a multimedia designer with a global media agency network, Mindshare. As an international student, the internship was my first full-time internship working in the U.S., and I found out that I was the only international intern among about 40 interns that my company hired this summer.

During the internship, the company created a competition called “Battle of Interns” for all the interns to work closely with their fellows to develop a media plan which involves Media Planning, Digital Investment and Marketing Science. I personally think this is a great learning opportunity, especially for people who are new to the Media Planning & Buying World. My major responsibility in the company is to assist the Mindshare Creative Director on various projects supporting the Mindshare business, including Video and Audio editing, building styled templates and other visual design projects.

The most challenging part of this experience, for me, is the work-life balance. Life in New York City can certainly get super exciting: museums, concerts, amazing places to eat and drink, famous attractions, and the list goes on. Every morning I take a subway (often crowded) for about 20-30 minutes to get to my company, work for 9 hours including a one-hour lunch break, and then do the same thing again in the evening. I sometimes get pretty tired of dealing with crowded platforms and trains, and thousands of tourists and passersby, especially as my company was located close to Time Square (then we moved to 3WTC in downtown). So during the weekends, it’s important to find a balance, to help myself fully rest up, but also not to miss out the fun stuff going on in the city. It’s definitely hard, but I am trying my best.

One of the most important takeaways that I got from the internship is: there are so many different things and skills to learn in an internship setting compared to working in an academic setting. When in school, I mostly work with myself, classmates and professors, and everything is based on an academic setting. We do learn

a lot in school, but I don’t know if my projects are going to perform well in the market and the industry. However, during an internship, I got to experience organizational and professional cultures that are very new to me. I have direct contact with people who do different works, and I also get frequent feedbacks from my workplace supervisor about my performance which reflects how the projects actually work and support the company’s business. It feels really good to see how users react to your design projects in the real world, instead of just getting feedbacks without testing out the performance and usability.

Another key takeaway is that: always be yourself, and always learn from the individuals you meet in the office. I was really lucky to be surrounded by super nice team members and managers. My supervisor and I have similar backgrounds, and we constantly talk about our design concepts and thoughts on certain design projects. I also appreciate that my supervisor trusts me as an independent individual and offers me a lot of room for flexibility and creativity. I am so glad that I am not only gaining valuable applied experience, but also making connections in professional fields, which will guide me and impact my future career path.

Finally, I am very thankful for this summer internship opportunity. I was lucky to sit next to a super nice team, which mentors and managers who taught me a lot at work. I got valuable feedbacks which I would never get in an academic setting. And I am also glad that I got to do this internship in New York City, one of the greatest cities in the world. Although living in the city on an intern’s budget is a bit challenging, it at least gives you an idea of how it feels like to live and work in NYC and also expand your life experiences! Whatever the future may bring, I would look back on my time here and appreciate the skills and knowledge I gained.

You Paid Your Deposit: Now What?

by Kexin ‘Coco’ Wang, Visual Communications Design MFA student

If you have already paid the deposit, congratulations! Your spot in your program at RIT is guaranteed. But now what do you need to do next? Here are some steps that you need to follow.

First you’ll get a chance to create your personal RIT computer account. It’s a student Gmail account that will become your preferred email address in the school system. And this Gmail account will help you get all sorts of information from New Student Orientation, Student Financial Services, Housing Operations, Financial Aid & Scholarships, and academic departments, etc. You could visit Google Apps at RIT to access your account.

All new incoming students attending RIT are required to submit the Health History Form and Immunization Record via the Student Health Center Portal at least 30 days before classes begin. And again, you will need your RIT Gmail account to login to the system. For more information, please visit: https://www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/studenthealth/about/forms.

You’ll also have to submit your final official transcript once you finish all your current classes. If you are attending or have attended a school in the U.S., you should have the registrar to send your transcript to you following the instructions and then you can mail it directly to RIT’s Office of Graduate Enrollment Services. If you are from an International school, an official degree certificate in both English and the original language with the transcripts is required. And you may have this transcript and degree certificate forwarded directly to the office as soon as you have completed your undergraduate study.

If you are an international student, you need to provide additional documents to apply for a student visa. you’ll then need an original bank statement showing the amount available for their education, as well as a letter of support from the person owning the assets (if the funds are not in the student’s name) to RIT. More details can be found via this link: https://www.rit.edu/emcs/ptgrad/pdfs/International_student_visa_info.pdf

You will be encouraged to attend New Student orientations: graduate orientation and International orientation. Activities and further details can be found via the links. You’ll just need your RIT username and password to log in and complete the registration information. Orientations really do help set the tone for your transition into the next level of your academic career.

And if you are interested in finding housing (both on and off campus) before coming to school, the international student services have provided some good resources on their website, which could also be helpful to the domestic students. And the link is here: https://www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/iss/life-at-rit/housing

The very last step before you start your school will be to pay your bills and authorize access to RIT eServices. Usually, the bill will be generated during the beginning of July, and you’ll get different payment options. You may visit Student Financial Services for more information. And there are also various types of graduate student funding that you could find online, including graduate scholarships, graduate assistantship, campus jobs, cooperative education, and educational loans, etc. Check out this website for more info: http://www.rit.edu/emcs/ptgrad/apply/costs-funding

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you will find this information helpful and good luck with your preparations for new semester at RIT!

Time to Plan Your Summer Vacation!

by Kexin ‘Coco’ Wang, Visual Communications Design MFA student

With warmer weather fast approaching, summer is just around the corner. While preparing for the end of the semester final exams, students must also be thinking about plans for the summer. Would you like to fill your summer with travel? Or you’d like to take some summer courses to get some extra credit? Or maybe use it to gain some internship or job experience? Summer at RIT is 12 weeks long, and I’m here to give you some suggestions on how to make a fun and meaningful summer plan.

If you want to take some classes during the summer, RIT offers a wide range of subjects both on-campus and online, which means you can also go home and take the courses online. Studying abroad during the summer is also an exciting opportunity for some students. I personally think it’s the best time to experience a new country or place with new outlooks, customs and activities. You may check out Summer @ RIT and RIT Global for more information.

And if you are looking forward to working for the summer, the student employment office has some notes for you:

Students who meet the following criteria are eligible to work up to 40 hours per week during summer semester if the following criteria are met:

Must be matriculated, and registered full-time status Spring Semester AND at least one of the following:

  • Must be registered for at least 4 credit hours for summer session
  • Are registered for 0 credit hours for summer, but are registered for at least 3 credit hours for fall
  • Are registered for at least 3 credit hours for both summer and fall
  • Are registered for 0 credits for continuation of thesis for summer and/or fall that can be verified via STARS

And if you are doing a co-op program, you must be registered for co-op for summer session. Please check out the student employment office website for more information.

For those of you who are staying in Greater Rochester area, and who happen to be interested in some summer outdoor or indoor activities, here are some suggestions for you:

  • Roseland Water Park – a water park facilitated with a giant wave pool, adventure river, splash factory, tube slides and body slides, located in Canandaigua, NY.
  • Roseland Wake Park – the only Cable Wake Park system in the Northeast, with thrilling water board sports.
  • Corn Hill Arts Festival – a festival that exhibits an array of beautifully handcrafted art and crafts from over 300 artists from across the US and Canada.
  • Finger Lakes Chamber Music Festival – a music festival that stages a series of concert performances by outstanding local musicians.
  • The Taste of Rochester – a food festival that is designed to designed to get people and food purveyors together to get to know each other.

In addition, there are also bunch different activities listed on Rochester Events, make sure to check their website and plan ahead of time!

Hopefully, I have given you some idea about your summer vacation, if you still don’t have any plan in your mind. As for me, I will be traveling for a bit at the beginning of the break, and then heading to New York City to work for 10 weeks as a multi-media designer. I am super excited about the traveling and my internship opportunity, and I also hope that you could come up with an awesome plan to make the most of your summer!

Creativity Brings People Together

by Kexin ‘Coco’ Wang, Visual Communications Design MFA student

On March 29th, the 13th annual Creative Industry Day was held in the Gordon Field House. The event is an annual event for creatives by creatives, and it features activities such as portfolio reviews, career speakers, and professional networking. As a design major who is wishing to gain some work experience in the creative industry, I took this event as a really great opportunity to meet design professionals and get some valuable feedback on my portfolio, and possibly build some connections that may benefit my future internship or career.

About 70 innovative businesses from various companies have shown up to the event this year, including Google, Capital One, Microsoft, GEICO, as well as many digital design agencies and visual effects firms. At some popular booths, lines formed quickly, and each student got about 10-15 minute to speak with the experts face to face.

The portfolio reviews and networking event ran from 1 to 6 PM, and I got to talk to 5 different companies in total. That number might sound small, but I valued every single opportunity and believed that I have got the most out of this great event. And due to the time limit, I highly recommend that students should do some company research and discover more details about the employers before coming to this event. Lining up in front of popular booths takes a lot of time, and you should make sure the companies on your list are the ones you want to talk to the most. And you should also be prepared to bring a well-developed portfolio (on a laptop or tablet), printed resumes, and other files that you think would be helpful when you are presenting yourself to the employers.

At the end of the event, I received some portfolio reviews that were really helpful and valuable. I have also learned a lot about some types of job opportunities that are suitable for me in the creative industry. One company that I talked to was very interested in my skills and background, and later that day they contacted me on LinkedIn for further discussions on potential job opportunities. Connections are happening! And it feels amazing! So to those students who are interested in coming next year, I 10/10 would recommend it and make sure you do the preparations before you go!

For more information, please visit: https://www.rit.edu/emcs/oce/alumni/creative-industry-day

Being a Student Liaison: Making Rewarding Connections

by Kexin ‘Coco’ Wang, Visual Communications Design MFA student

We are now almost three-quarters through the academic year, and I have also been a graduate student liaison here at RIT for that much of a time without even realizing it. If you ask me what I find most rewarding about this position, I would say it’s the opportunity to break boundaries and make connections for the prospective students, and keep forming and maintaining them at the same time.

Almost all of the bloggers here are from the graduate student liaison team. As a student liaison, we serve as an ambassador to prospective students by offering perspective and assistance throughout the enrollment process. We normally communicate with those students by sharing experiences via the office’s social media, placing outgoing courtesy and follow-up phone calls and emails. We also gather in meetings and come up with ideas to better serve the connections.

I didn’t really feel the strong connections to students until it hit the busy season in the admissions office, which was around Thanksgiving last year. Students started to have more questions about applying to university and also about the general student life on campus. That’s when I began to feel good inside about being a graduate student liaison. Personally, I grew so quickly at RIT, I am eager to share my personal experience with prospective students, particularly international students, and cope with their doubts towards future study at our school. The small talks that I had with the students made me step back at the moments when I talked to the RIT student representatives while I was applying for the school. In the meantime, I feel proud of adding diversity to the university and help prospective students with on-the- ground information and adjust to campus life quickly after enrollment.

To me, talking and making connections with the students is also a good way for me to self-reflect on my personal student life and academic performance. I am also greatly grateful for the precious opportunity of studying at RIT and aspire to reward the school with my knowledge, skills and experiences. To put it in a nutshell, I feel like being a graduate student liaison is extremely rewarding and meaningful, and I am hoping to meet the students in person soon! If you would also like to be connected to one of our liaisons, feel free to feel out the Connection Request Form here: https://join.rit.edu/register/GradStuConnectRequest

Don’t Miss Out on Imagine RIT 2018!

by Kexin ‘Coco’ Wang, Visual Communications Design MFA student

For those of you interested in innovative and interactive presentations, hands-on demonstrations, and different exhibitions – have you heard of Imagine RIT? If not, today it’s the time for me to introduce it to you all.

Imagine RIT is an annual festival of Innovation and Creativity that turns the entire RIT campus into a giant expo showcasing interactive student projects in fields of science, technology, arts, community and beyond. And this year, the festival is being held on Saturday, 28th April 2018, from 10 AM to 5 PM. Every year, it’s a great opportunity for the RIT students, faculty and staff to showcase their innovative work to the public, and also a great campus-wide event for the visitors to experience the dynamics of the campus.

Last year was the ten-year anniversary of Imagine RIT and there was about 400 exhibits displayed at the festival. Various types of creative projects were involved including Puppy Prosthetics, customized drones, Air Force bomb disposal robot, Ferris wheel model, and so on. Almost all of the projects delivered valuable messages with the implementation of technologies and some of them could even address real quality-of-life issues. Personally, I am also planning on attending the event and demonstrate some of the research work that I have been working on. I take this event as a valuable chance to exchange ideas with people who are a big fan of innovations and technologies.

Recently, the Imagine RIT team has just announced that President Munson is sponsoring a Performing Arts Competition as part of Imagine RIT 2018. And this exciting news means RIT community members who are into things like dance, music, drama, comedy and juggling can also have a stage to show their talent to the public. There’s also a Poster Contest for this year’s festival if you would like to check some beautiful designs out! And lastly, if you want to know about the festival, please visit their website at https://www.rit.edu/imagine/.