Afterlife w/ Katherine Crean

In our second afterlife of this year, we were fortunate to have a previous student come and talk to us about her experience during and after university. Our speaker was Katherine Crean who graduated 2 years ago. She now works in London for a social media marketing agency called Wilderness.

Katherine first said that she wanted to give some advise for fully utilising university. She had the same advice as Martin Grual, in the previous afterlife, that university is the best time to experiment with your design process. She said that it’s a great chance to be different in each and every project you can do as it’s sometimes easy to slip in to a comfort zone. It’s also great for your portfolio as clients will love to see variety in your work. Katherine also mentioned that it’s so important to use your lecturers, ask them about anything even if you think it’s stupid. She said that in the working work she rarely gets feedback so its important to take advantage of that while we can.

Katherine then went on to speak about her process after university, and how it was finding a job. This is something I am particularly interested in as its something I really worry when thinking about leaving university. After finishing university, Katherine decided to take the summer off to enjoy her (most likely) last summer holiday. When September came around she started the job search. Katherine stated that her friends found it really easy to find jobs after university and some started straight away so she thought it would be easy. However, it didn’t go that way and Katherine applied for many jobs with out any luck. She said she felt miserable and disheartened. Katherine stated that even thought friends were telling her she’s get a job eventually, she didn’t believe them and felt embarrassed to talk to them about it. When January rolled around she decided to move to Dubai, to live with her friend if she didn’t find a job within the month. The next day 3 jobs came back to her and now she works for Wilderness in London. She says that she’s really happy with her job and is so glad she stuck it out. One thing she regrets is getting so disheartening by the job hunting. Some advise she gave was to not let the rejection get to you and to try and stay passionate about design. If you try hard enough there will be a job for you. She said that on her time off she worked on personal projects which clients love to see in portfolios. It shows drive and passion for design. Some advice about looking for jobs was to think about where you want to work. She stated that its important to apply for jobs that you want to work at, however still keep an open mind. In the description for her current job it said ‘digital designer’ which Katherine wasn’t that excited about, however, she loves her new job and is glad she pushed herself to work with something different. Actually the job she has now started out as an internship which she fully endorses and recommends. She says that it allowed her room to learn and make mistakes. Just be sure to get paid.

Katherine is currently part of the creative team at Wilderness, which to summarise takes over clients social media accounts in order to boost engagement. The company works with the likes of HBO, Sky, Discovery and Ellesse. I had never heard a social media marketing agency before but it sounds really interesting and a fun place to work at. I am starting to learn more and more about new design jobs areas and it is exiting to think about the future.

Overall, I found Katherine’s talk really insightful and inspiring. It’s great knowing she graduated from Cardiff and is thriving in London now. There is a lot of advise I am going to take away from this for instance to experiment, which I am doing in my ongoing project for Criticality. My outcome is much different to what I usually create and I am really enjoying it. I am also going to start using my lecturers more and ask for their options. I usually have my critiques and leave but I will activity try and ask for their feedback when around university. Some great job hunting advise she gave was to try not get disheartening and keep pushing because you will find a job eventually. Furthermore, in my upcoming summer break I will definitely be creating my own personal project for my portfolio. I think that is such great advise and one that will be insightful for clients. Lastly, is to stay opened minded while looking for jobs and don’t be afraid to apply for jobs you want too. I have nothing to loose right? Katherine left us on one last statement which was to just enjoy the ride. I think it’s such great advise as I know I often get caught up in work and stress myself out a lot. I should learn to enjoy the process of learning and personal development.

Sources Used:

(accessed 11th February 2020)

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