Their Last Safety Net

I just finished my 4th year as an adjunct instructor for the capstone project for aspiring advertising seniors. There has been an interesting progression (and in some cases, regression) in abilities and attitudes over the years. But that’s another post!

One thing I always enjoy is the contagious energy these fresh faces bring to their real-life client projects. It’s easy to become complacent in approaching campaign ideas when you’ve settled into a decade of routine; unwilling to step outside the “tried and true” and experiment with the unconventional and unusual. Every year is full of “A-ha” moments. Many weeks, time spent with these ideators is the highlight of my week. Throughout the semester I am not only an instructor but also guidance counselor, cheerleader, client buffer, and one who is not afraid to provide a swift kick in the pants when necessary. My goal is to create the closest thing to an agency experience as possible, but with the safety nets needed to catch them when they fall. And, even though they are nine foot tall, bullet proof seniors, they do fall. Sadly, no such safety nets exist after they leave the halls of academia.

Some of my students have routinely kept in touch with me over the years. They have offered after-the-fact “evaluations” of their class experience and my teaching style. It’s amazing how perceptions change once they are out in the “real world”! Details and expectations once considered ridiculous are now embraced. Nit-picky nuances (i.e. grammar/spelling/design) suddenly become essential. Live and learn.

Many will go on to become successful in their chosen fields. Some will not have skin thick enough to handle the pressure of the industry. Others will fall back into complacency and be content to live life in their own little comfortable box.

But for 15 weeks they were mine and worked like “rats on crack.”

2 thoughts on “Their Last Safety Net

  1. Pingback: Warping young minds…again « peripheral perceptions

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