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What I learned during my internship at Oxide (Kelsey Janda)

[You're reading part 1 (of 3). Read part 2. Read part 3.]

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.

-Kelsey Janda self-portrait part 1

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.

24 Jun 2019

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