A Shared Experience: Mentee Edition

We asked Rob Wilds to talk about his experience with the AIGA Mentor Match-Up program. He’s participated in the program two years in a row, and he felt both of his mentors were helpful in his development of becoming a Graphic Designer. If you’re interested in participating in our 2015 Mentor Match-Up, check out the details on the event page.

I initially decided to participate in the program my first year because I wanted to get a different experience from what I was getting in school, and a different edge from my classmates and peers. I wanted to learn about what it was like being a graphic designer from a professional already out there in the freelance world. My second year I did it again to help me prepare to get out of school, finalize my portfolio, and make some serious career decisions about what direction I want to take after school.

My experiences with both of my mentors were very educational. The process was about the same for both after the initial meetings and exchanging of info. We normally met up at an agreed-upon location. I would bring my “work in progress” portfolio and we would go over my work and discuss things I could improve on, what I should push harder on, and what I should just scrap altogether.

Whenever I needed to speak with them, I would contact them via text or email and they were both always willing to speak with me, and always responded in a quick manner. Other times we would meet up and discuss the different types of graphic design careers out there, opportunities here in Charlotte, the world of being a freelance graphic designer vs. a corporate/agency/studio designer, and many other topics.

I learned so much from my mentors and this program I really wouldn’t know where to begin. I learned different processes and ways to view the world of graphic design; I learned how to put together a successful portfolio; I learned a little more about myself and what direction I want to go in the world of graphic design; and ultimately I learned to be more confident, fearless, and overall that there is nothing really to fear out there.

In conclusion, I feel the AIGA Mentorship Match-Up is a great experience for young designers and I would advise anyone to sign up for it and take full advantage of the knowledge and networking opportunities that the mentors provide. I hope maybe in the next year or two I can follow in my mentor’s footsteps and become a mentor to future young designers who were just like me.

By Rob Wilds
Published December 9, 2014