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Gimme a Break!

Gimme a Break!

Mike Lenhart

This is the time of year when students of all types have winter break. It’s a nice and well-deserved reprieve from the papers, projects, and other studies of the school year. I haven’t been a student in a while, but I still remember the anticipation for the break and the relief when it finally came. During the time off, it is always a good thing to take care of yourself and have some fun. But, it also may be a time, especially in the art and design world, to create some projects of your own.

Now it’s My Turn

After spending all term doing projects for others, why not spend the time off doing some fun things for yourself? There has to be a project that would be all yours – something that you want to do. If you desire, take the time off from school to do your own thing. You can use the skills you’ve learned at school to create something that means something to you – and reflects your individuality. This project can also be added to your art portfolio, which is always a good thing. Take your time and have some fun with it.

Make some Money

If you’re a little more advanced, and have the skills to do some real-world things, why not take this break to do some work for pay? By this time, you may have talked to or met a person or two who needs something done. This person could be a good client for you. You can take on the client and charge a little for your work. Since you’re still in the learning phase, you can charge a little less, but you’ll still earn some money. If you’re not yet comfortable with charging for your work, there’s nothing wrong with a real-world, pro bono project. Again, this can be added to your portfolio. Real-world experience is extremely valuable, whether paid or not.

Get it all Together

If you’re in the last year or two of your education, this down time may be good for you to start putting together your resume and project portfolio. Come spring, you’re going to have the opportunity of attending a portfolio day (the AIGA SF has one in May), a spring show (like the Academy of Art), or looking into a higher degree (like an MFA). Rather than waiting until the last minute, why not take the time to put things together in a thoughtful and deliberate way. It’s really competitive out there and a good, professional portfolio can go a long way. I know a break from school is supposed to be just that – a break – but when you’re almost through with school, it’s time to get serious.

There’s always a Cocktail

If you’re of legal drinking age, winter break can also be a time for going out, having fun, and getting a drink or two. Of course, all things in moderation, so you should be able to go out to a club and still have time to take on a suggestion or two mentioned above. You’ve put a lot of time and effort into your education, so I feel it’s a good thing to make it work for you. After all, a hangover doesn’t make for good portfolio preparation.


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