Tag Archives: Internships

Notes From the 6 Train: Finding Work That Fills Up You

I’m really enjoying my internship with the Laundromat Project. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of helping out my artist, Elvira Clayton, at the Harlem Art’s Festival. We were in the kid’s corner, where we had a live drummer, with an accompanying (evolving) drum circle. We also had materials to make mini djembes for anyone to take home to continue the music at home!


Despite the challenging weather we experienced at the Harlem’s Art Festival, there was an incredible turnout at our table. And I know why.

The drums.

It brought together every community member possible. Little kids wandered over, with their older siblings and parents following close behind. At one point, an elder, master drummer even stopped by to play for a bit.


That’s when I remembered, why drums are so enticing. I never forget this fact, but it’s moments like this that reaffirm, usually more passionately than before, that powerful nature of the drum. It’s an obvious reminder of our humanity, as it mirrors the sound of our shared heartbeats. This is even more poignant when there’s a troupe of drums. Strangers who didn’t even exchange names, were connected, if only for a moment, by playing together.

Not only do drums remind of us our shared humanity, but creates the perfect catalyst for community building. Everyone wants to touch the drum, beat and feel the rhythm of the drum. Even the shyest and most hesitant of passerby’s found themselves enraptured in the majestic nature of the drum circle.


As my graduation swiftly approaches, I am paying attention to work that fills me up, makes me feel whole, and this community engaging work does it for sure. That’s what I plan on doing after I graduate.

All Things Color, Love & Fashion,
Ayanna Lane

Notes From The 6 Train: The Laundromat Project

In my last post I mentioned that I have a summer internship as an artist assistance, but I want to talk more about the organization that I’m working with. The name is the Laundromat project and it’s mission is exactly what it sounds likes, doing cool stuff in laundromats. The entire premise of this non-profit is to make art more accessible for those whom it may not be for, such as those who live in low income and working class neighborhoods. This is done by bringing act and interactive exhibits to laundromats & other community spaces.


I am super excited to be working with this organization because it’s work I fully believe in. Accessibility to art (film, dance, writing and poetry for me) has made such a huge impact in my understanding of the world and my existence within it. Creating art has healed me in ways that would impossible otherwise, and has connected me with people and communities that have changed my life.


But it started because I was exposed to it. Whereas, for many people living in lower income and working class neighborhoods, art is this esoteric or even nonexistence force that exists for other people besides themselves, or exclusively the wealthy. So I look forward to bringing to connecting and building through art. I am also looking forward to working such talented artists, who do this important work.

This is going to be a good summer. I can feel it.

All Things Color, Love & Fashion,
Ayanna Lane

Discovering a Major: Packaging Design

by Claudia Arisso as told to Emily Bennett

Claudia Arisso

Claudia Arisso

I came to FIT really interested in Packaging Design! You do have to begin with the Communication Design AAS, so there were still two years for me to make a sound decision, apply, and get accepted into the BFA program. Communication Design prepared me for Packaging because the 4th semester is all about taking introductory courses to things like advertising, packaging, and exhibition design so that you have a better understanding of which BFA you’d like to continue into. For instance, Packaging is so different from the more commonly known Graphic Design major. Packaging deals extensively with crafting a brand from the ground up. You need to create a story and a reason for the consumers to fall in love with a product. Our classes revolve around brand strategy, creative briefs, and creating brand stories. (It’s all about depth!)

This is a work in progress of a flexible packaging project for an international food brand

This is a work in progress of a flexible packaging project for an international food brand

As specific as Packaging Design sounds, we come out with such a wide skill set because it requires you to wear many different hats, and grads can go into pretty diverse fields. For me, writing, research, and strategy are the aspects of Packaging that I want to take into my future career, whatever that may be.  So far I have done two internships. My first was working on page layouts, logos and identity for a design publication. This was strictly graphic design for print. My internship at the moment is for credit and is a required part of the Packaging Design curriculum. I work in a small packaging design studio that is more focused on brand strategy and how to get instant shelf impact. I have also picked up some freelance work along the way, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend piling that on while you’re still in school.

I had to show a portfolio to be accepted into both my AAS and BFA. To get into Packaging, I just had to show my best work from the AAS program in addition to my GPA.

This was made for the Packplay competition for the University of Quebec and Montreal. The competition is between from schools all over the world (we are the only ones from the US!)

This was made for the Packplay competition for the University of Quebec and Montreal. The competition is between schools from all over the world (we are the only one from the US!)

Last semester, I took a Sustainable Packaging class that taught us how to make sustainability part of our design process, which is so important to anyone involved with making anything in 2015. Outside of Packaging, I’ve taken everything from Crime Scene Chemistry to Bookbinding. Picking a major doesn’t mean you have to pigeonhole yourself! I’m in a pretty specific major, but I learned that you can make it work with whatever talents or interests you have. Your major shouldn’t restrict you – use the aspects you love about it to your advantage and play up your strengths. The different BFA programs are really just different means to an end.

To learn more about the Packaging Design major click here! And to learn about the Communications AAS program click here!


Internships: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Everybody seems to have an opinion on internships. Are they necessary for “real world” learning? Is it just free labor? Do you actually learn anything worth while?

My opinion has certainly changed since starting at FIT. On the one hand, internships are necessary for the “real world” experience of working with a team, in an office and reporting to people above you. Almost any successful professional will tell you that working under someone is necessary, and you should do it even if it is unpaid. This is where it gets a little complicated.

On the one hand, internships offer (hopefully) invaluable experience, networking opportunities, helpful references, business insight and something to put on your resume. There is no doubt that employers want experience. It can also guide you in deciding what you actually want to do when you graduate. Even if you are absolutely positive you are going to be in advertising, do you want to work for a big company or a small company? An exciting but risky start-up, or a stable respected company where you will have much less responsibility or creative freedom? Are you sure the job you think you want is actually fulfilling?

However, many people now believe that internships are detrimental to students. They certainly take up a lot of time with most companies wanting at least two full days a week. It is also hard to quantify how much someone is learning at an internship. Are you just getting coffee, making copies and running things back and forth, or is your supervisor taking the time to make sure you understand what you are doing and, most importantly, why it is important? Most internships are unpaid, which brings up the argument that internships really only benefit middle to upper class kids who can afford to work for free. If a student is paying their own way through college it is unlikely they will have time for school, their job and an unpaid internship.

Of course, most places try to get around this now with “credit bearing” internships. These are also usually unpaid, but the student can get credit for a class. This allows the school to check up on the work place to ensure it is safe, and that the student is getting enough of an education to make the time spent there worth it. However, these credit-bearing internships are not offered by every company and usually require the student to add  another class to their schedule. This limits the flexibility of their schedule for other classes and obviously takes away more time.

If I may interject with my own opinion here, I do think internships are necessary. The ones I did have certainly helped me see what jobs I thought I was interested in more clearly. I have been exposed to big companies, little companies and growing companies. I have learned a lot and made many helpful connections. However, I have never been paid for my work. I have never even been compensated for lunch or travel. Looking back now, it is very frustrating as well as quite disheartening considering I am looking for a job and having done all this work is not  a guarantee I will get hired. I met a woman recently and asked her if she would ever need a research assistant. She replied that she would love an assistant, but could not afford to pay fair compensation at the moment, and did not feel it was right to accept that labor for free. Even though it was an opportunity I could not have, I was so happy when she said that! I mean it was so refreshing just to hear someone say, “I can’t hire you, but I respect you, your work, and your time too much to let you work for nothing.”

What are your opinions? Have you had any good or bad experiences with internships?


A Thank You Goes A Long Way

I am a firm believer in the power of gratitude and a simple “Thank You.” Not only does it prove to bring good things into my personal life, but my professional life as well!

I’ve had family members who worked in administrative jobs tell me, they would hire one person over another due to a simple Thank You Note after interviewing. It may seem absurd, but the act of taking the time to personally thank the interviewers can change your career!

I’ve kept this advice close to heart while being in New York and have applied it wherever I can. When I finished at my first internship, I sent a personal, hand-written Thank You note to my boss for the wonderful experience I’d had.

I just recently finished a different internship and did the same thing. When I was interviewing for new internships the following week, I picked up some more thank you cards in preparation. Once I got home from those interviews, I wrote out the notes and sent them on their way.

The notes mean more than one may think. It shows a level of maturity, and respect that so many people unknowingly lack these days. It sets you apart from many others as a polite and gracious person, who could end up being the perfect fit into a company.

Don’t know where to find a companies address? Often times it will be located on their website. Or, if you’ve been communicating specifically with one person via email, they may have their office mailing address attached within their email signature. Last resort, speak to the doorman of the building! They may know where you can find more information on mailing addresses!

Thank you goes a long way!