March 2020 

Iowa City, Iowa -- One thing that got me through the periods of isolation was an internship in Texas that I was ecstatic about. However, I received an email informing me that my summer internship was canceled. I understood that I needed to fill my time with activities to build my resume and portfolio. 

This was when I had an idea – to become a freelance photographer for the graduating class of 2020. I began with friends. What started as a hobby that helped me gain experience quickly turned into long workdays that required me to photograph the graduates and rapidly edit their pictures.

With the experience I gained throughout the first half of summer, I began to think of how this would impact my future career. Like a cartoon, a lightbulb lit above my head, and I knew exactly what I wanted to spend my summer doing as my photography hobby began to slow down. I used the knowledge gained in my classes to initiate an internship for students who want to pursue a career path similar to mine. I was responsible for setting up meetings and interviews and found myself talking to multiple students who had a similar interest.

As a first-generation student, I am continually seeking experiences that help me stand out from others, and I wanted to pass the knowledge I gained to someone who would utilize it. I know that in my field, experience is everything. However, it hasn’t been easy. Managing two jobs, a summer class, and a future business endeavor has highlighted the importance of responsibility and time management. 

Professional development is essential for those seeking a career that emphasizes social media marketing and catering to different audiences. The experiences I have worked with have helped me expand my skills in ways that cannot always be done through textbooks. Hands-on experience is the way I learn best. The knowledge I’ve gained through classes and field experience has benefitted me in unimaginable ways. From my devotion to academics to the professional development and experience I’ve gained from outside of school, I do it with Hawkeye pride.