Exciting New Discoveries While Interning at the Met

By Rose O’Neill ‘21

Click here for Rose’s reflection on Met’s Opera House Season of ABT.

I was very excited in December when I was offered an internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The best thing about my internship at The Met is that it makes me better aware of the opportunities at the museum available to the public, opportunities I can take advantage of even after my internship ends.  I now have more knowledge about Watson Library and I am more aware of museum events open to visitors.  Additionally, information about exhibitions that I would likely come across anyway, but then forget, is at the forefront of my mind.  

Take, for example, the exhibition Making Marvels: Science and Splendor at the Courts of Europe, which recently closed.  During my lunch break, I can leave the building’s office section and amble through the galleries.  While walking to look at some impressionist paintings, I came across the exhibition space.  Though the exhibition was widely advertised, I had not previously thought about visiting it. As I was there anyway, however, I walked through it. I’m delighted that I did.  It was full of objects that fascinated me, including multiple writing automatons, impressively elaborate clocks, and the Picture Puzzle of Christian V.  

Shortly after, the other interns and I were invited to go on a tour of the exhibition in the morning before the museum opened.  Without so many other visitors around, I could get a much better look at the objects, and the research assistant guiding us drew my attention to details and items that I had not previously noticed.  

Leaving the tour, I was even more entranced than before.  I called my mom, saying that she and my dad had to see it and bring my younger brothers.  The next weekend, the five of them ventured into Manhattan to meet me at the museum.  My internship, therefore, not only gave me a richer experience of the exhibition but encouraged me to spend quality time with my family so I could share that experience with them.  

 

Working From Home: A Work in Progress

By Esmé Bleecker-Adams, FCLC 2021

Click here for Esmé’s reflections on Design in the “Real World.”

It’s true what they say, that it’s hard to work in the same place where you relax; that you should have a dedicated space for productivity which is separate from the space for rest and recreation, but this is easier said than done even under more normal circumstances. As students, it’s hard to remember a time when we weren’t expected to do work at home already, but this still feels different. During the semester, I often go to school on weekends because it’s a place I associate more with getting work done than my house, but last spring and summer I made do with my kitchen table. 

The student newspaper I work on continued to produce issues through the summer, which helped me stay grounded and even remember what day of the week it was because we had a consistent schedule. 

For my internship, I was given assignments to work on and attended the occasional virtual meetings, but I didn’t have specific hours that I worked each day. At the time, my sleep schedule was on the rocks and I found it easiest to get things done around 1:00 in the morning, so it was helpful to be able to work when I wanted. In hindsight, however, I think it would have been beneficial to hold myself to consistent hours. 

For the future, I need to be able to set those hours and guidelines for myself because no one else can form habits for me. I’m glad to have had the experience of allowing myself to get by with a lack of structure because it showed me that I do actually want that structure in my life. 

Remote work, whether for classes or otherwise, is tricky because distractions are right at your fingertips. While in zoom class or a meeting, you have other people to reign in your attention, but working on your own is overwhelming in the amount of freedom available for that attention to wander in. 

Everyone is different, but I find that I have to allow myself a certain amount of distraction, within boundaries. It’s like when you purposely try not to think about something, which only makes you think about it more: the more I try to shut out completely anything distracting, the less I am actually able to focus. Therefore, it helps to listen to music or to switch back and forth between tasks. 

I am far from perfecting the art of Working From Home, but I think it will become a lot more present in our lives from now on. Therefore, I’m glad to have gotten some experience with it while still in school, before I’m totally thrown to the wolves later this year (to be Dramatic about it).

A Reflection on Design in the “Real World”

By Esmé Bleecker-Adams, FCLC 2021

Click here for Esmé’s reflections on a theater production experience at the YMCA.

Last summer I worked as a remote graphic design intern for a company that does affordable data visualization and management for nonprofit organizations. It did not turn out to be exactly what I expected, but nothing ever does. At the end of the day, I think it was an important learning experience, and I’m glad to have gotten a taste of the potential professional applications of design. 

I learned that while an eye for color and shapes is helpful, the real necessity in creating promotional materials and social media content is a gift for effective marketing strategy. In hindsight, I should definitely not have been surprised by this, but I’ll admit I did sort of expect to be drawing pretty pictures. In fact, it’s all about simplicity and using the right keywords to attract attention quickly and from the intended target audience of potential clients. I tend to be overly wordy, which is great for filibustering and little else in life. 

As far as the colors and shapes go, consistency is important; so walking into an already established brand, you are learning the design language of that particular company, which is harder in a way than making up your own from scratch. The tools existed before you and they’ll exist long after you’re gone, but your task is to figure out how to use them most effectively in the time you have. 

In my graphic design class, we read a treatise that said that good design goes totally unnoticed because its purpose is only as a vehicle for the information it conveys. I think this is a little extreme but makes a good point, and while designing in “the real world” is a creative pursuit, it’s also one of utility. 

Since the summer, I’ve been noticing more closely how brands and services portray themselves in the ads on subway walls, on social media and all around me. What story is the particular arrangement of words and images trying to tell, and to whom? I’m glad for the new perspective, and that I’ve come to understand a more expansive definition of creativity and its applications.