SMAD 407: A Semesters’ Reflection

Similar to my previous post, for my last blog post I wanted to reflect again. However, this time I wanted to talk about my experience in this class and the material we covered. I learned a good deal about things in the field I have always been curious about and it was refreshing to learn more about the business and less about the technical SMAD skills we do so much of. From SEO to project management, to our guest speakers, and lectures everything was beneficial.

This class really challenged me to think outside of HTML or InDesign and focus more on the structural integrity of this field I am perusing. Though I am most interested in the design aspect of the business, it is certainly imperative to know how the “other half lives.” Knowing how our peers/co-workers operate in different fields is crucial to the business success. For instance, I have never had a huge interest in search engine optimization but knowing how optimizing keywords and page content helps me as a perspective designer work for the good of the company or project.

My favorite part of the course was the half dozen or so guest lecturers that came to talk about their positions in the field post JMU SMAD. First and foremost, I learned a huge deal about what careers are even out there. Knowing what careers exist is something I’ve found I have the hardest time with in this field. Finding freelance jobs is fairly easy, but can be inconsistent. Searching for a steady job seemed very daunting at first because my biggest question was, “What do I even search for?” Getting to hear each of our guest lecturer’s stories and career titles really helped me get a handle on what was out there and where I can start looking. Another big but subtle tip was the location of these businesses of the SMAD nature, many of which are located in Richmond, northern Virginia, Charlottesville, or other big U.S. cities.

Lastly, my third biggest takeaway was simply the use of industry terminology. There were a lot of things that I previously knew about or had learned in SMAD that I simply didn’t know how to talk about due to lack of vocabulary. Being able to give our final group project and use the terms we have learned throughout the semester really gave me a confidence boost in preparation to do something like this in the real work world.


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