To start this post, I will recount the story of my long and complicated relationship with Oxide Design Co. with the use of a simple timeline tool.

1996

I am born.

1999

I lose my first tooth, probably.

2001

I use a computer for the first time.

2002

Okay, we can skip most of this.

2012

Oxide designer Adam Torpin, having stumbled upon my work on Dribbble, sends me an email. He is impressed with my skills and wants to know if I have decided on a college yet. My answer, as a high school sophomore, was something along the lines of, “Uhhhh not really.”

2013

A year passes and I have done little to no further research into possible schools. This time I email Adam and ask for his advice. He strongly vouches for Omaha as a great design community and recommends that I apply for Oxide’s summer internship. I live two hours from Omaha, and am a day late on the application, but still, I applied.

The next day Drew emails me back. They have not made a decision yet because of an “overwhelming number of responses.”

A week later I get another email from Drew. They are impressed with my work, but I have not been selected for the position.

2014

I contact Adam and tell him I’ve decided to go attend UNO in the fall. I ask him if Oxide is still offering summer internships. They are. I apply again. I do not get the job. Drew encourages me to continue applying.

2015

I stop in to visit Oxide for the first time. Adam and Josh show me around the place and we go on a trademark afternoon Walk to Bucky’s. They ask me if I am going to apply for the internship this year. I say yes. And I apply. This time, I get an interview. But I do not get the job.

2016

I miss the deadline to apply this year. Oops.

2017

I do not miss the deadline to apply. I get an interview again this year. And I get the job!

Self-portrait by Connor Brandt

Folks, the moral of the story here is to never give up. Right? That has to be the lesson. I don’t know what else you would get from that. Actually “check your email” is a good one, too.

I learned a lot from “The Oxide Internship” when it was just an idea in my head. Because I think it was always back there, pushing me to improve my skills and my portfolio for the next year’s application.

So I guess now the question is, “Is it everything I dreamed of?” First of all, I never dreamed about working at Oxide, that would be weird. If I did, the office would be underwater and Drew would have gills like Aquaman. (Does Aquaman have gills?)

That said, it really has been a great experience. From day one, everyone has made me feel like I am part of the team. I’ve been included on client meetings and brainstorming sessions, and got to work on real jobs. I’ve received extremely thorough, but always constructive, feedback on everything I’ve done. I know everyone’s favorite part of the day is gathering around The Intern’s desk to critique my most recent work.

I think the most beneficial thing for me is being able to see how a design agency runs on a day-to-day basis. That, and an ongoing series of Lessons of the Day from Drew, including, but not limited to:

“Never answer emails without a subject line,” and, “You win some, you lose some.”

I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to everybody at Oxide (from south to north): Drew, Mandy, Josh, and Wes. It’s worth noting that Adam now works remotely from Kearney. But I’d still like to thank him: for moving away so I could sit at his desk, but also for first contacting me and influencing me to come to Omaha. I’m so glad I did and glad that I continued applying to work at Oxide, no matter how badly they tried to keep me out. [winky emoji]