- Maddie Markley
Senior year comes with a side of anxiety. Many of us approach the end of a comfortable cycle and will soon launch ourselves into the working world. It’s a frightening, yet exhilarating, time of change. As recent graduates, we must come to terms with the fact that life is unpredictable, yet destined to fall into place.
For seniors at Pratt, the end of the semester is a race to the finish line. My friends are wrapping up their theses, applying for jobs and searching for apartments. We all seem to be on our own timelines and attempting to remain grounded within the chaos. I’ve found great comfort in knowing that many seniors feel anxious and excited like me. It helps put your mind at ease to know that everyone is in the same boat.
In the hopes of spreading this reassurance, I decided to interview a few of my senior friends. We discussed everything from long-distance relationships to job prospects.
Please note that names have been changed for the purposes of this interview.
What is your name and major?
Ava: Graphic Design
Tell me about your favorite memory from senior year.
Molly: Even though it was super stressful, I loved filming my senior thesis film! Getting to see my work collide with the crew and actors was a great experience.
Lea: I enjoyed going to San Francisco with my cross country team. They’re a lot of fun.
Annie: I enjoyed seeing everyone develop their thesis projects.
Ava: I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to make memories at school since I’ve been commuting a long way up until this semester. The events that happened at night were just not practical for me. Something that made me smile this year was when our Viscom II class put on a very short art exhibition together. We set up such an amazing little space with limited materials. It really came together so well and it was a great conclusion to our time together as a class.
Nicole: Sharing the studio space with my friend Arabella, just the two of us, was so much fun. The first night we ordered Dominos at 2 a.m. We now have a specific order on my account called Bella.
Pratt is situated in a thriving and beautiful city, yet it may not be the right place for every Pratt graduate. I made sure to ask my peers whether they planned on working in New York City or finding a job elsewhere. Once I graduate, I plan on making my way back to the Midwest to be closer to my family. My design job is based in Ohio, yet I have aspirations of working remotely in Minnesota. I knew it would be rare to find a Pratt student eager to leave New York, yet I thought it was worth asking. Molly, Annie, and Ava plan on staying in New York after graduation. Nicole hopes to return later on in the fall, and Lea will be moving to Indianapolis, Indiana. I suppose I wasn’t alone in my Midwest quest.
Do you have a job lined up for after graduation?
Molly: No, not yet! I am looking for a job where I can use my editing skills, maybe for commercial or social media based work.
Lea: I don’t have a job lined up. I’m looking for just about anything that pays well, but ideally working with editorials.
Annie: I am currently looking for jobs, but I mainly want to do freelance work and sell my paintings online.
Ava: Yes! I’ve been working for a company that makes socks, slippers and slipper socks. It’s part of a larger family of brands that make clothing and accessories. I work on designs for socks and packaging to go along with them. I started working there as an intern a year ago, after my junior year. I’ve learned a lot and have been able to grow within the team. One person on our team moved jobs right before the holidays, and it was difficult to find someone to fill that role right away, so I asked my boss if I could have her job. I just got an offer letter this week to go full time after graduation. It’s really opened my eyes to all the niche things you can do with a design education! I don’t know if I’ll stay working in in-house fashion for brands forever, but I do like making things that turn into physical pieces.
Nicole: Unfortunately, I do not have a job lined up yet.
How will you maintain long-distance friendships and relationships after graduation? Any advice?
Molly: I think by senior year I’ve gotten a pretty good grip on this, since I have long distance friends no matter where I am. Constant communication, whether that be texting or calling, is always great. I know life gets busy, so I think setting up times on FaceTime and catching up “face to face” will also be super helpful!
Lea: Well, I hardly ever contact my best friends from high school, but every time we do talk again or visit each other, our relationship feels just as close as it was when we spent nearly every day together. Life’s busyness and routine may get in the way of talking with the friends I’ve made at Pratt as often as we talk now, but I hope, like my high school friends, that nothing changes between us.
Annie: I will try to FaceTime my friends and make time to visit them in person.
Ava: I transferred into Pratt as a sophomore the semester before COVID sent us all home. I feel like I've missed out on so much possible bonding with new friends in the Pratt community. I have been trying my best to network with classmates I've been friendly with (or even just those I admire) on social media. I follow a lot of current and previous classmates on Instagram. That's how I keep in touch with a good friend I made at my previous school too—I watch their stories, hype up their work, buy from their shop, and recently, I sent them a letter back! Since I got a bunch of nice things from their shop, I sent back some things I'd made too. It's not perfect, and I still miss them. But I think it's nice to occasionally let them know I thought of them!
Nicole: It’s helpful to text frequently and to schedule phone calls every month!
What are you most afraid of, post-graduation? What are you most excited for?
Molly: I’m most afraid of not getting a job, but I’m excited for my thesis to be over, and to finally get to see everyone’s final work!
Lea: I’ve worked crazy hard during college. One time, I stayed up for 30 hours straight either working on homework or attending class, and there have been countless weeks where I got far under eight hours of sleep a night trying to get all my homework done. I’m afraid I won’t end up feeling fulfilled working as an illustrator despite all the challenges I’ve taken on to get this degree. I don’t want to feel like all that effort didn’t pay off. I’m most excited about getting to spend time with my long-distance fiancé and seeing my friends again.
Annie: I am scared that I won’t be able to find an enjoyable job that pays well. I am excited to create art for myself with no restrictions.
Ava: I'm so excited to not have homework anymore. I'm going to reclaim my evenings after work for elaborate dinners, drinks with friends, bubble baths and binge-watching Legend of Korra. But I guess with that, my fear is that I'll stop making things just for myself. I love making little artifacts, like zines and stickers, but without the motivation or energy after a 9-5 job, I worry it'll fall by the wayside.
Nicole: I’m worried about leaving NYC to go home and taking a longer time than expected to come back.
What is one piece of advice you would give an incoming Pratt senior?
Molly: Work on your time management!
Lea: Make an appointment with the Center for Career and Professional Development to get your resume and portfolio looked over for suggested edits.
Annie: A professor actually told me this a few weeks ago: You are allowed to disagree with your professor when they critique your work. You don’t always have to make the changes they ask you to make just to get a good grade.
Ava: Take electives that teach you a new skill or new mode of output. I've been using the space offered by these electives to make smaller exploratory projects as part of my thesis. For example, I'm in Graphic Design, but I'm using the knitting class I took as an elective to produce a sweater as part of my thesis work. It also gives your mind a break from thinking about your major all the time. It's a nice reset to try something new to you.
Nicole: Have fun and don’t overwork yourself! Sleep is possible if you prioritize it.
Hopefully, these interviews gave you both a taste of the senior experience as well as a comforting sense of comradery. Whether you are at the beginning of the senior journey or at the end, it is important to remember that it’s very normal to feel anxious during a time of change. We just need to take things one day at a time and take note of our many accomplishments during our time at Pratt. This education has set us up for success!
Art by Yotian Chu