Hands-on experience adds to education

It is traditional for graduating UP management staff to pen a column as their Lamar story ends (dubbed a “-30-” column in recognition of the symbol to end stories in the old days of typesetting).

taylorWhen I transferred to Lamar from Texas State I knew only that I wanted to graduate with a major in communications. At at the end of my first semester I considered an emphasis in advertising. The more I studied the subject, the more excitement I felt toward it. Halfway through my next semester, I heard from a professor that the University Press was hiring an advertising assistant. I had been searching for ways to build up professional experience that I would be able to showcase on my resume and this seemed like the perfect opening.

Since starting my job here, the UP has provided me with access to state-of-the-art software and equipment that allowed me to learn skills almost all advertising jobs require. I have produced multiple projects utilizing Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere, and after a year of working here I feel completely comfortable using them. Of course, classes on these programs come with the degree plan, but to the ambitious student that cares about having something impressive to show for at the end of their academic career, classes do not advance you far enough. The UP has given me the opportunity to grow and refine a skill-set that I otherwise would not have been able to achieve.

When I started at the UP, I knew nothing practical about advertising. All I knew was that I wanted to pursue a career in it and I had to find a way to make it happen. Stephan Malick, our assistant director, quickly showed me how it was done. He explained that this is a changing field that requires versatile workers skilled at every angle that comes with the profession. In order to learn those skills, I would have to create the means of fulfilling them myself utilizing the UP as my platform.

I consider this one of the most valuable experiences I have encountered at Lamar. Knowing how to do the work is one thing, but attaining the discipline that results from creating the work out of nothing holds a value that I place in an entirely separate category.

All of the work I have produced through the UP has shaped me as an advertiser. I was given a working style to start with, and through practice and persistence I have seen that style grow into something much more personal. When I started off, I had no idea how to create an ad. I knew what good ads looked like, somewhat, but I hardly understood any of the elements that compose them. Now, after working with well over a dozen different clients both on and off campus, I can confidently construct anything from a 1-inch by 1-inch web ad, to a full-blown video campaign. In addition to the skill-set and the experience, working for the University Press has also provided me with works to display in a portfolio that I am proud of, which has already successfully landed me a job interview.

Here at the end of my academic career, I stand on the edge of an unseen future with a steady outlook. I began, unsure of where I would find myself and with no concept of what it would take to get me there. Now, I find myself well prepared to spread my wings and take on a new and exciting horizon. It has been both a challenging and an enlightening experience getting here and I hold no regrets about it. I have learned more than I can express and made several friends along the way.

I have achieved my original goal of graduating with a degree and have exceeded it, knowing now that I can leave Lamar University with the peace of mind that I am ready for the real world, and that is what working for the University Press is all about.

My parting advice is to find an outlet where the lessons of the classroom can be translated to practical skills. The teachers can only take us so far. Part of a good college education is up to us.

Story by Taylor Phillips, advertising manager

Learn more about Lamar University at lamar.edu

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