This week we find out what it’s like to work as a marketing assistant who is focused on graphic design for University Student Commons and Activities (USC&A).
Meet Rachel Zhou, a rising junior from Richmond, Virginia, majoring in graphic design and the face behind many of the event posters you see around campus.
Zhou is responsible for the conceptualization, design and development of promotional communications, informational materials and outreach activities to promote the programs, facilities and services offered by USC&A.
How long have you worked for VCU?
I was hired November 2015. It was during the finals season, so I didn’t work too much until this semester.
What are your main responsibilities as a Marketing Assistant?
My main responsibility is to develop promotional graphics for print and online use for USC&A.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m usually assigned to design posters, handouts, axis slides and welcome signs for different events and activities that go on around VCU, specifically in the Commons. A few of them include the Off Campus Housing Fair, Student Appreciation Week and MLK week. On a typical day I will come to the office and check in with my boss. If I am already working on a project, I will continue to make changes to the design. If not, then I will be assigned a new project and start brainstorming a few different ideas to present.
Do you have an example of the type of work you do?
Do you find it easy to balance being a student and a student worker?
I think so. My boss is really understanding and my office hours are flexible. I also have the option to work at home if I want and I can always leave early if I need to. My boss always says that being a student comes first, so I never feel pressured to choose between school and work.
What are some suggestions for people finding it difficult to manage?
Use your office hours wisely. Don’t just socialize – work when you need to work. Communicate with your boss and work something out with another student worker if you need to transfer projects.
What is one thing you really enjoy about your job?
I like the people I work with. I like how relaxing the atmosphere is most of the time. It is a fun job that I can actually gain valuable experience from. I am learning skills that I will be able to take to the workforce with me.
Is there anything that you have now learned that you originally struggled with at the start of your job?
I am way better at designing posters now. Taking an idea and visualizing it comes more naturally. In school, many projects are conceptual and now I am making more practical things, which will be helpful when I put together portfolios.
What has been one unexpected perk of working for USC&A?
Free food and merchandise all the time.
What would be one suggestion to a student who is interested in working as a graphic designer for USC&A?
Try to balance your schoolwork with your work here. It can be easy to get caught up in projects. Plan out how you are going to use your time and use your office hours wisely.