Hear straight from our graduates.
The best advice I ever received was to be fearless about learning. One of the reasons why I love design as a career is because you don’t have to be limited to one specialty.
Design Director, EasyKnock
Keiran McCann studied at Shillington New York
You studied Film and Media Arts. What inspired you to go back to school 3 years later and study at Shillington?
I loved my undergraduate experience studying film and media arts but while I was there, I took a few graphic design classes and found that they were my favorites in terms of the hands-on work. When I graduated from university, I found it really difficult to find consistent entry-level film/production work, so I ended up taking on a freelance position as a social media/email marketer with a boutique marketing studio. That gig ended up evolving into a full-time position and I began creating occasional visual assets such as emails, newsletters, banners etc. to aid in the social media marketing of the brands we were working with. Though it was a great learning experience and I was thankful for the consistent work, I really didn’t love what I was doing and once again discovered that the design aspect of my job was the only part about it that gave me any joy. However, my skills were rudimentary and I didn’t feel comfortable calling myself a designer without proper credentials so I started to look into graduate design programs. The problem there was that the programs were very long, very expensive and you needed a portfolio to apply to them, which I did not have. A few Google searches later I discovered Shillington and it was like a lightbulb went on above my head. The program seemed perfect and a new course session was starting in only a few weeks. It felt like kismet! I made a few calls, scrounged up my savings and within a few days I was enrolled and attending my first class.
Since you had experience as both an illustrator and designer, how did the course further build your skillset?
The best thing the course gave me as an illustrator and a designer was the confidence to actually see myself as a professional in those fields. Despite my background, I had a lot of trouble viewing and pitching myself as a true designer and illustrator and thought of myself more as a reluctant marketer who dabbled in the creative.
Are you a part of the #Shillumni community? If so, what has your experience been like?
Yes, I am a part of the #Shillumni community and I think it’s a great network for job opportunities, feedback, guidance, and friends. The community is incredibly diverse and insightful. I have passed along job opportunities through the Facebook group and like to check in frequently to see other student’s portfolios and advice. It’s also a great way to learn about campus events like portfolio reviews and workshops. I have been to a couple of these events since graduating and always find them fun and informative.
Did you make any meaningful connections with teachers and students during the Shillington course?
Definitely! It is inevitable with the 3-month intensive course, when you spend so much time with a certain group of people working, learning, and commiserating, you can’t help but bond a little bit. We often spent time together outside of class and I definitely felt way more connected with my teachers than I ever did at a “traditional” learning establishment. The experience felt so much more like going to work in a really chill office. Even after graduating many of us have managed to stay in touch despite us being all over the world!