I didn’t have a clue who Oxide was until 15 minutes before Joe Sparano reviewed my portfolio. Here’s the story:
I walked up to the board where all the postings were listed. There were already a handful of my classmates crowding the area. Portfolio review night is required at the Creative Center. Well, if you want to graduate it is. Finally I got to the front and searched the list of student names and professionals. I wasn’t really thinking about internships. I was going to China for a month just two days after school ended. I was missing graduation and in my mind, any chance of holding a summer internship.
I smiled when I found my 9 o’clock appointment. It was with a woman from a well-known agency in town. An agency I could potentially see myself working at. Then my eyes scanned across my 8:30 appointment. Oxide? Joe Sparano? Who? It was 8:15 and I had 15 minutes to find the closest computer to Google “Oxide Design Co.”
I was early to my appointment to meet Joe. When he was ready, I sat down. He told me he wanted me to go through my portfolio and explain my projects. He wouldn’t comment until the end. So, that’s exactly what I did. He didn’t really say much. At the end he closed my portfolio and sighed. At this point I almost went into panic mode. The last time my portfolio was reviewed by a professional, the guy ripped it apart, told me all my efforts to make every piece mine weren’t good enough, and basically tore my heart out.
So, when a really long pause followed the long sigh… I was a tad worried. But the exact opposite happened. He said he was going to be honest with me. Panic. He said I didn’t need to go through a third year of schooling. What? He said it was the best portfolio he’d seen at the Creative Center. Huh? He said I was good; really good. He asked about an internship. My heart sank. The next five minutes were filled with my explanation about China.
The next day, Friday, I sent Joe a thank you e-mail. I mentioned I was still interested in an internship some day in the future. The following Wednesday I received an e-mail from Drew Davies. This was the e-mail that made all the difference. Here’s part of it, “The internship is a 10-hours-a-week unpaid position, which generally lasts the months of June, July, and August. (Understood that you’re in China for most of June, which wouldn’t be a problem.)”
It’s crazy how much a phrase encompassed by parentheses can change everything.
After a long interview with a dog on each side of me in the “conference room” and an even longer conversation about my schooling, here I am.
I’ve always been a little bit of a rule breaker. Obviously it’s September and I’m still here and I’m not in school. Instead, I hang out 20 to 30 hours a week here. And this is the start of a series instead of just one blog post. See: rule breaker.
Before I could tell you anything about these guys, you had to know this story. You had to know they became a small part of my life before I even became an official intern, before they became a big part of my life.
There are a few more stories to be told. Stories with more them and a lot less me. Them being Oxide. Oxide being… a pretty big deal.
But what I do I know? I’m just the intern.
Note: Kelsey Janda was an intern at Oxide during the summer of 2011. See her portfolio of work at kelseyjanda.com. And we honestly did not bribe her to write this – but we are most definitely flattered.