Lucia Tian was a senior at High Technology High School who did her senior mentorship requirement with the Semgeeks design department. She is going to do her undergraduate studies at Brown University.

As a student at a STEM focused high school, opportunities in art and design are few and far between. Though most of my actual course material did not really prepare me for this mentorship directly, I did have some marketing and design experience. I’ve promoted school events through email and fliers I designed as a student council member, ran an instagram account for the performing arts club, and created graphics for science articles. However, I was never really aware of how that translates into the real world. Luckily, I was able to get a mentorship at Semgeeks, where I was able to see what it is like to work at a digital marketing agency.

Unlike other students from my high school, who had mentors who rarely showed their faces and worked on different floors, I worked in a small design department made up of three talented designers who sat right around me. This allowed me to truly feel like a member of the team even though I was only in on Fridays. Not only was I able to easily shadow my mentors and see what kind of work they were doing on a daily basis, but my mentors were also there to answer any questions I had, whether it was about the inner workings of their company or how to do something on Adobe Illustrator I was confused about. I was able to learn a lot about marketing and design by actually sitting in on meetings with clients, designing posts for social media, and making potential websites.

One of the most important takeaways from my mentorship experience is the importance of being open to change and willing to experiment. I first started to realize this when I collaborated with another highschooler who was also doing her mentorship at Semgeeks on an updated pitch deck to better match the new Semgeeks website. We soon realized we had very different ideas so we both had to make compromises with our own vision. I found this a little difficult at first because I had worked on the pitch deck alone for a bit and grew attached to my design. But after collaborating, the end product was better than what any of us could have done alone. This idea was also apparent when the team at Semgeeks was doing an internal website redesign. I saw just how many versions of the site was created with completely different aesthetics. It seemed like every week I came in to an entirely new look. In the end, the team settled on a design that satisfied them and worked on developing that further. Even though the other versions weren’t used, they were crucial for figuring out what worked and what didn’t. Changes are inevitable, especially when working with clients, but they are usually for the better. Overall, I realized just how important it is to not be married to a design.

At Semgeeks, I have learned so much about marketing and design, and even just what a healthy work environment should be like. I am very grateful for everyone making me feel welcome at Semgeeks and especially for the irreplaceable experience and all my newfound knowledge.