I went to a Syracuse University sponsored event this week at Lubin House, their NYC headquarters. Every year the Visual Communications (Ad Design, Illustration and Commercial Design) professors bring the graduating seniors’ portfolios to New York for a couple of days. Alumni and industry professionals attend, give feedback on the work, and sometimes hire students.

I haven’t been to this event in a few years, and I was glad I went this time because being at Lubin House always brings back memories of my early days of being an artist. When I was in high school, I lived in New Jersey and brought my portfolio to Lubin House for my SU admissions portfolio review. I still remember the exact room my appointment was in and what the woman who interviewed me looked like.

Being amongst fellow illustration alumni and professors also makes me nostalgic for the time my portfolio was there. I remember being quite disappointed with the lack of comments and job offers! I made an effort to leave comments, even though I am not in a position to hire anyone, and there was some really great work there. The best part of the evening was having some time to chat with some of the people who were in the program at the same time as me and compare notes about what it’s like in the real world. Many of us have gone in different directions and learned new skills to keep the money coming in.

I remember how hard it was, starting out after graduating. It is still hard to keep on track with what I want to do with my art (creating more of it, marketing it, and continuing to learn), while making a living, and having a social life, but at least now I have the wisdom that comes from persevering this long. My attitude is much less dramatic than it was in my mid 20s, but at times that can lead to complacency. Its just a different kind of struggle than it was back then, but better in different ways, too.