They Told Me So: Tips for Succeeding in iMedia

By Dioni L. Wise, iMedia Class of 2013

I worked for a newspaper for three years, reporting, writing and updating the website every day. I thought I was busy, but I didn’t really know busy until my 25 classmates and I stepped onto the second floor of Powell on Aug. 28.

Reading. Blogging. More reading. Coding. Cursing the computer. More reading. Typing a paper. Forgetting to eat dinner.

Mama, said there’d be days like this.

To be more accurate, iMedia alumni did.

They warned that we would miss sleep and suggested that we make Mr. Coffee a good buddy. (Hey, Joe.)

But they also gave me plenty of tips on how to succeed (and remain sane) in the program. I’m grateful for their help.

Here’s a roundup of the top tips:

MANAGE TIME

*Work ahead early on what you can (blogs, readings, etc.) It will give you more time later on for intensive projects.

*Prioritize according to how important [each] project is and how in line each one is with your interests. If you try to complete everything as 100%, everything will be mediocre. 

MANAGE STRESS

*Make time to chill out once a week. You will still probably be burned out; but that will help.

THINK AHEAD

*… make sure that you do all of your school work with getting a job in mind. You will be tempted to half-ass stuff. But if you try to make everything fit for a portfolio, it will help a lot.

*Think about your personal design/branding style during first semester so you won’t be starting from scratch second semester.

TEACH YOURSELF

*Google it first. Ask your cohorts the question second. Run crying to Brad Berkner third. Go to an alum fourth. Drown your sorrows at Town Table negative oneth.

*Document your design process. Document your thinking. Use the knowledge and experience of your professors (not just for minor assignment questions or when you’re stuck with code). Get in the habit of teaching yourself.

LEARN FROM CLASSMATES 

*Ask for feedback from classmates constantly, it will make you see things you missed before.

*Find someone to compete (friendly competition) with. It sounds dumb, but if you find someone pushing as hard as you, it’ll make you want to push harder.

*Listen to your classmates – they’re among the most talented people you’ll ever meet.

*Rely on each other for help, but not to do everything for you. The latter breeds dislike and lowers your chances for getting help again. You are going to have to love each other during the fly-in, and the better you are at helping each other now, the easier the fly-in will be.

TRUST YOURSELF

*Be true to your own design aesthetic. It’s always great to get feedback and ideas from other people but at the end of the day your work is a reflection of who you are.

*If you have a vision for any project, and people, including your professors or classmates, tell you that you can’t do something, you shouldn’t always listen to them. Listen to your gut instinct and follow through with your plans, starting over and over again (especially on your portfolio and capstone projects) can really set you back. When developing your ideas, put them all out on paper and follow through. You can really do anything you set your mind to, and this program really helped me realize that!

DO EXTRA PROJECTS

*Don’t be afraid to use your equipment on the weekends to get familiar with it. Good photography/videography will go a long way.

*Do extra projects outside of class if you can -it goes a long way in interviews, especially if it’s for nonprofits and good causes.

NETWORK

*Casually stalk potential employers now. Even if you don’t know what you want to do yet, take a guess and start stalking (it’s good practice).

FAIL

 *That’s okay! Iterate your ideas and projects based on your failures.

Dioni L. Wise is a former newspaper reporter who wants to enhance her skills in multimedia storytelling and digital media strategy. She has a knack for doing cartwheels and turning mundane phrases into songs. 

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2 thoughts on “They Told Me So: Tips for Succeeding in iMedia

  1. Reblogged this on Words From D Wise and commented:
    Helpful alumni gave me tips on how to succeed in the program. I compiled them for “Eyes on iMedia” – the award-winning blog led by career counselor extraordinaire Ross Wade. Each year, Wade selects a few students to write posts for the blog.

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