Alumnus Soren Iverson (‘17) studied studio art with an emphasis in design and minor in business during his time at Biola. He is currently an art director at Envoy, a branding company, and a freelance product designer. In Fall 2019, the Student Alumni Association hosted an event where Iverson shared his experience of diving into the art world right after graduation.
Iverson shared three points he has learned during his journey in a competitive industry.
1. Relationships are everything
During your time at Biola, it is important to get to know your peers, according to Iverson. Students’ diverse backgrounds, passions and lifestyles shape them outside of their daily class attendance. You never know what future opportunities might result from being intentional about building relationships.
Whenever these opportunities do arise, pay attention to the quality of your work. According to Iverson, quality and care for what you are making stands out. Always go above and beyond what is expected of you to the best of your ability.
Lastly, keep in touch with the companies and people you get to work with. Again, you never know what future opportunities will develop.
According to Iverson, this practically looks like staying in communication with previous employers or coworkers via LinkedIn, email and social media. It is also valuable to set up occasional meetings to connect in person over lunch or coffee.
2. Only compare against yourself
It can be easy to fall into the comparison trap against others, which can leave you discouraged, bitter and unproductive.
“Focus on comparing where you are right now to where you have been in the past,” said Iverson. “Am I taking steps in my life to improve my past self?”
Try setting goals for where you would like to be at the beginning of the year and revisit them at the end of the year. Steve Moore's Self Assessment Tool is a great personal growth resource.
3. Time is your most valuable asset
With so many distractions pulling us away from being present, it is important to remember that our time is finite. If you find yourself struggling to use your time wisely, Iverson recommends some simple time management tips.
When you have several projects going on at once, it can be overwhelming. Give your attention to one at a time, focusing on what needs to be done first. Be intentional about planning when you are going to work on which projects and be present in that space. Create a very detailed calendar to keep yourself organized. Make sure to update your calendar and check it daily.
Lastly, work on improving your focus. While social media can be a beneficial networking tool, it can also sap away productivity and affect one’s mental health. Use your time wisely! If the thought of deleting all of your social media platforms is terrifying, try setting time restrictions on apps you find yourself losing hours scrolling through.
According to 6 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health, Alice Walton writes, “One study looked at how we make comparisons to others posts, in ‘upward’ or ‘downward’ directions—that is, feeling that we’re either better or worse off than our friends. Turns out that both types of comparisons make people feel worse, which is surprising, since in real life, only upward comparisons (feeling another person has it better than you) makes people feel bad. But in the social network world, it seems that any kind of comparison is linked to depressive symptoms.”
The only type of social media Iverson chooses to participate in is LinkedIn. That way, when the urge to sit in front of the screen comes, he will be spending time investing in his career instead of falling into the trap of self-comparison.
For more advice on how to pursue your career goals through networking or help with your resume and searching for internships, schedule an appointment with your Peer Internship Ambassador through Handshake.
Ashley Logue, Art Department Peer Internship Ambassador at the Center for Career Development. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.