This spring, I was looking down the barrel of adulthood as May 2nd grew closer and closer. When the day came, I graduated from Ball State from my living room. I knew this was supposed to be an exciting moment, and it was, but my first thought following that day was this: “What in the world am I supposed to do now?” I had just graduated in the middle of a global pandemic, had no job, nowhere to go, but to move back home with my parents and no idea of what the next month, week or even day would hold.
This was most definitely not what I had anticipated last year. I was going to move away with a shiny new job in a booming city. “I cannot get stuck in the middle of Indiana,” I would tell myself.
I think we can all agree this is a bad time for just about everyone trying to enter the workforce. To be blunt, it sucks, but I knew I had to make the most of a bad situation. Earlier in the spring, I came across the opportunity to join PATTERN for their summer internship program. All of the other jobs and internships I had applied to placed hiring on hold, and I suddenly had nothing to do until one of my professors introduced me to the team at PATTERN. I knew the deadline to apply for their internship had passed, but they still offered me the chance to join the group of interns for the summer.
Come the first day of the internship, I was excited, nervous and unsure of what I was about to get myself into. I was born and raised in Indiana, and had a preconceived idea of what the state had to offer: Corn fields and cow farms (to be fair, I do still stand by this statement if we’re talking about the town where I grew up). I was about to intern with a fashion magazine in the same state. I knew it would be a good experience and I’d learn a few skills, but I had no idea what else I would get out of it.
PATTERN gave me the chance to explore more areas of media design than I could have anticipated – I worked through social media marketing challenges, revisited and revised my animation skills, worked with photographers and stylists on fashion editorial design, assisted with a Google Ads campaign and of course, did a few layouts for the print products that we all know and love from magazines. I even got the push I needed to finally rework my website – something I had been meaning to do for a while.
My experience with PATTERN gave me more than just the clips and work I put in. I learned so much about what Indy has to offer that so many people have no idea about. Granted, it was a different experience than what most summer interns at PATTERN have – no Indy500 in May, no trade shows or events – but I was able to learn about the amazing designers and artists that the city has to offer in a different way. The local creators I met and learned about didn’t let any of this year’s challenges get in their way of following their dreams. They kept on creating, innovating and pushing for change – a message everyone can learn from. I know I did.
In the end, I’m glad things played out the way they did for me. Yes, I was hoping to get a job right out of school and move away from Indiana, but if I had done that, I would have missed out on learning so much about what amazing things we have right here in Indianapolis. I think this year is all about making the most of what you have, and I was able to do this – all from right here, in the Midwest. And because of it, Indy will always hold a special place in my heart, not just because I grew up here, but because it really is an amazing city. You just have to look through a couple of rows of corn to see it.