The second thing that is important to know in this series is forming alliances. In the real world, often times it all comes down to who you know or who knows you and what you can do. In 2013 when I landed my internship at Fleetwood RV, I would later find out that a former classmate whom I was friendly with was also working there and he had also put in a good word for me.
There are two kinds of alliance you can form. The first is with those in high places and the second is with those in the low places. Those in high places would be people like your professors, head of department, the recognized students in your field; whereas those in low places would be likened to those smart students who are not popular as well as the janitors.
Alliance with those in the high places is important because these are the people that hold certain influence. The fact is that people generally like those who like them. When you are friends with those in the high places like your professors they are more willing to spend time to help you out. This could be by cutting you some slack when you mess up or giving you advice and help with regards to information to succeed. These people are also more than likely to be references for you in the future. When people are in need of your skill sets these people in high places that you know will be likely to refer them to you.
By being friends with the popular classmate (the smart kind) you can start to learn what has made him/her one of the most recognized students. They can give you advice on your design project etc.
Alliance with those in the low places is equally important. When I was in college there were many nights when I needed to get into the school building after hours to get some work done. One of the janitors whom I had become friends with was willing to let me into the building. The same applies to the smart unpopular school mates whom others might refer to as nerds or geeks. Most of the times these smart people are just in need of a friend and are willing to point you to resources or even help you out when you are struggling in return for your friendship.
Actively being in a club or organization will also provide you with the benefits of being in a networking environment. When you are known people can easily refer you to jobs and people know who you are when someone of your skill set is needed.
Know the basics
One of my failings as an earlier designer was just trying to create beautiful pictures without consideration of other factors. Time and time again my instructors would tell me how awful my designs where and I even failed several portfolio reviews before finally getting my act together and making it officially into the program. Looking back I believe my failure stemmed from inability to grasp the basics such as color theory, font choices, repetition, contrast etc. It is easy to look at a finished product and just want to skip straight to doing your own version. When you don’t understand the basic dynamics at play it’s often hard to reproduce your own master piece. During your learning pay attention to the history classes of the previous designers. Understand why they made their choices and how those choices impacted how people now relate to their designs.
Knowing the basics also requires you to constantly stay informed. Part of my failing of my portfolio review at the time was because I was not aware that after taking X amount of classes that we had to take a portfolio review. That left me unprepared. The point is you should always try to stay informed of even the minute details because it can save you a lot of heart aches.