Designing For Aahana

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This question has been asked of every kid countless times. My typical answers ranged anywhere from an astronaut to a dog walker. I’m slightly claustrophobic, so that eliminates being an astronaut and I have never had a dog so I don’t think I would have the qualifications to for my second choice. However, as I moved through school, art class increasingly started to become my favorite class. I would ask for a new sketchbook or Sharpies in the newest hue for my birthday when all of my friends wanted a new pair of Uggs or a different Juicy Couture jacket.

Years later when I sat down with my parents at our kitchen table to talk about what I was thinking about studying in college, they shouldn’t have been surprised when the first idea I had was Graphic Design. I could tell they didn’t exactly know what a graphic designer does or if their daughter could live off of this type of salary. My parents had a computer, but only completed basic tasks on it. Neither of them were artistic. I was telling them that for a living I wanted to be like the people that created the magazine cover on their nightstand. I wanted to be like those designers who spend hours talking about which colors create the best reaction from users viewing their most recent logo. Being a designer was my decision and my parents would have to accept it.

As we started touring different college campuses, my parents learned more and more about my interest in graphic design. On our trip to Bowling Green State University, the school I eventually chose and now attend, I fell in love with their Visual Communication Technology program. VCT is different from Graphic Design because they teach us about many different forms of visual communication, like print, interactive media, photography and videography. I never thought I would put all of those concentrations to use while working a single job.

The past few months have proven that last statement to be completely false. While at Aahana, I have had complete creativity over every project that I have worked on. I created a brochure and t-shirt designs that will be sent to the printer. I spent time taking and editing pictures for our new website. I put blood, sweat, and tears into developing a fresh, modern website for Aahana. I learned a new software so I could create a motion graphic that shows exactly how and where Aahana works. I have been challenged each and every day to create my best work for an organization that has a mission that I actually believe in. I honestly couldn’t have dreamed of a better experience for my first internship.

Not only has working with this wonderful organization allowed me to utilize everything I have learned in the classroom, I have also learned and been exposed to a lot. Everyone on the team is passionate and selfless. They give Aahana priority in their lives and I honor them for that. Every meeting or event we have, I see just how dedicated everyone is to this cause. It is inspiring.

At our last weekly team meeting one discussion really stood out to me. We were talking about how there is usually an easy option and more difficult one. The easy option, for example, may be taking a stable job at a respected company, but you aren’t really excited to go into the office every morning. Success for your position may be defined as completing a list of tasks by the time you leave your desk at five in the evening. The more difficult option is riskier, but has more positive outcomes. Working for a startup, a non-profit, or a socially responsible company falls into this category. Everyone has skills they can put to use to positively alter the world we live in. Not enough people, especially millennials, are choosing this path less traveled. My time at Aahana has opened my eyes to the skills and talent I have and how if I put them to good use, I can accept Mahatma Gandhi’s challenge and start making the change I want to see in the world.