Picture this: you’re a senior in college with a winning smile and a go-getter attitude and in seven short months you will be graduating and cast out into the “real” world to get a job and make something of your life. Then someone walks up and asks, “So what are your plans for after graduation?”, if you’re like me, this is where the hyperventilating sets in. This is the moment that would make people like my dad freak out because I don’t really have an exact answer yet. Some background info on Dave Paruleski AKA my dad: He’s a mechanical engineer at Boeing and has been since he graduated college. My dad is the kind of person who needs a plan for everything and needs to know all details beforehand. The fact that his daughter is unsure about her post-college life is making his hair grey at a pace that is a little quicker than normal (sorry dad).
I came to Greenville College in 2012 as a terrified freshman only knowing that I wanted to do graphic design. My parents suggested that I add a second major to my degree with some relation to business to make myself appear more marketable to future employers. In the beginning, I picked business administration but this quickly changed to marketing when I learned that with business administration I would have to take more than one speech class. Public speaking? No thanks. Fast forward to 2015, I am now a senior with a double major in graphic design and marketing, I graduate in seven months and seven days (who’s counting?), and I have no idea what I want to do with the piece of paper they will hand me when I walk across the stage.
Lately I have been reflecting on why I even wanted to become a graphic designer or even design things in general. When I was younger I wanted to be everything from a butterfly (I was 4, bite me) to a paleontologist to a veterinarian. So how did I end up at designer? I have always loved art and I have always been pretty good at drawing and bringing to life the things that I imagined in my head. It all started when I was a sophomore in high school and my mom brought home this magazine with an advertisement for a summer studio program at the Art Institute of Indianapolis. I was extremely hesitant about it, but I looked into it more and I thought that the graphic design studio would be good for me to test out. I quickly fell in love with it. I was terrible at it, but I loved it.
I have always really loved that graphic design is so versatile and you can really do anything with it. Last semester for one of my graphic design courses we took a day trip as a class to go and tour design agencies in St. Louis. Our first stop was a place called Atomicdust. From the moment I stepped into their building, I was inspired. As I learned more about their business and the work that they do, I started to picture myself working in a space like what was in front of me. Everyone there seemed so innovative and creative and incredibly good at what they do. It made me really excited for my future and the possibilities of the places I could go and work that I could produce.
I may not have things figured out to the tiniest detail (sorry again, dad), but I feel ok knowing that I love what I do and can do with graphic design and marketing. There is so much opportunity out there for me to experience and I am more than excited to see what I can find. As Dr. Seuss writes in his book Oh, The Places You’ll Go, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who will decide where to go…”