Lockers are being emptied, computer hard drives are being wiped, and the production room is getting polished and shined for the new crop of students who will grace the Publishing program come September. Alas, our whirlwind year is coming to a close.
As I take the time now to reflect on the year that I have had, I can say, without a doubt, that I have learned and experienced so many different things over the past 12 months. Upon entering the Publishing program, I had never laid my hands on a Mac computer (I kid you not), nor had I even heard of Adobe Creative Suite. You may laugh but, as I walked into what would be my home for the next 365 days, I was downright terrified.
I was jumping into the unknown.
I was dreading every step.
On the first day of classes we had to fill out a short survey on what programs we were comfortable with as a way to assess the class as a whole. After circling ‘Never’ on virtually every question I scanned my answers again to make sure what I actually put down was accurate. In a way, it was like the test where you’ve circled five ‘B’s in a row and start to panic. In the comments section below, when asked, “Is there anything you’d like to tell us,” I felt so incompetent that I wrote, and I quote, “It is my birthday on Thursday, so cake is always appreciated.” In my mind, I had to be celebrated somehow before I started failing every assignment I would be given from there on out. (To make matters worse, a guest speaker came to class that week to talk about depression.)
Fast-forward a mere three months and literally everything had changed. I discovered an eye for design I never knew I had and was well on my way to being fluent in programs such as InDesign, Illustrator and, believe it or not, Photoshop. I was designing book covers, attending meetings for fashion photo shoots, and learning what the point of a V is called (a crotch, if you were wondering). I have always considered myself, almost exclusively, as a writer, so to do a complete 180° and shift my attention to graphic design was scary yet exhilarating. (Don’t fret dear writers, I still got to exercise my writing skills by crafting what was to become my feature article in the 25th anniversary issue of Pacific Rim Magazine.)
In the Spring semester, we were thrown into a simulated workplace setting and put in charge of designing, writing and producing the 2013 edition of Pacific Rim Magazine. As one of two Feature Editors, I worked closely with the editorial team to make sure the content was perfect for the Globe & Mail readership. Along with the art, advertisement and production departments, we ended up creating a beautiful magazine cover-to-cover and even managed to squeeze in the signature 25th anniversary silver (which may have cost more but really made our publication shine). The experience as a whole definitely prepares you for a real world job placement and I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.
This program has challenged me in every way possible. Don’t be discouraged. It is a huge commitment, given that it is a two-year diploma program condensed into one, and takes a lot of dedication. Living in Surrey, I commuted to and from school via transit 5 days a week for an entire year (to this day, I don’t know how I did it). I took courses that made me smile one day and want to pull my hair out the next, met people who will be lifelong friends and have gained skills in several different fields that have contributed to a very impressive resume.
To the publishing class of 2014, know that you will be tested both physically (read: lack of sleep) and mentally in this program, but know that every second is worth it and will prepare you for the real world. Good luck, have fun and let your own creative minds shine!
The above image is the Langara Publishing Program’s 2013 advertisement featured in Pacific Rim Magazine designed by student Rae Fernandez.