My PL Residency Or: How I Learned to Stop Hating and Love Design

6 months ago…

6 months ago I was working as a waitress, and eyeglasses salesman at the family business. Neither were necessarily bad gigs (free eyewear is a solid job perk) but I had graduated from DAAP with a degree in graphic design and, at least according to my father, the idea is to use your degree once you’ve received it.

An actual photo of me selling eyeglasses and waiting tables

An actual photo of me selling eyeglasses and waiting tables

So I wasn’t designing anything, which isn’t that big of a deal. What is kinda a big deal is that I had no desire to design anything. DAAP had me burned out. I was contemplating whether or not I even wanted to be a designer at all or if I was one of the many people with a degree they never end up using. It was more than simply a creative rut; I was kicking myself for not picking a different career path all together.

But! Then I saw on Facebook that People’s Liberty was looking for new residents. I hadn’t applied for anything since graduating, but this seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up. I applied, not thinking I’d get an interview much less actually land the job, but much to my surprise I got invited to interview with Megan. The interview and follow-up trial work day went well and I was offered the position of design resident! Woo! I gave notice at my two jobs and started working at PL in January of 2018.


I’ve been at it for about 7 weeks now, which somehow feels both too long and too short at the same time. Since starting at People’s Liberty I’ve had the chance to meet and work with some amazing people. The work environment is collaborative and fun, while maintaining productivity. I leave everyday feeling accomplished and knowing I got things done. I’m more involved in the city than I’ve ever been. Working alongside involved people will do that to you.

Candid moment of collaboration between Marcus and I

Candid moment of collaboration between Marcus and I

Importantly, I’m designing things daily, and even more importantly I’m enjoying doing it! Whether it be buttons, postcards, event collateral, or multi-page publications, I’m doing creative work and relishing in the process. I notice now that when people ask what I do for work I confidently call myself as a designer and no longer shy away from the question. I’m reminded of why I went into design in the first place and no longer wondering if I wasted 5 years of my life in school for something I do not actually want to do.

So things are looking up! I’m about half way done with my residency (sad face), but I know that when my days as a PL resident are up I’ll be in a better place than I was 6 months ago. I’m more confident not only as a designer but as a person.

6 months from now…


It’s difficult to predict what I’ll be doing in the future. I know that’s a bit of a cop out, but I really do not know how I’ll be paying my rent in September. Hopefully not waitressing.

What I do know is that I’ll continue to attend events around the city and steadily get more involved in the awesome work being done right here in my hometown. I will continue to exercise my creativity as a designer and hopefully be 6 months closer to discovering my passion project and reason for being on this planet, whatever that may be.

© MMXVIII Society of Mad Philanthropists