Choosing Creative Freedom with MyCAA
Audrey Potter joined Sessions College in November 2018, one of several military spouses who enrolled in the Fall with the support of the MyCAA Scholarship program. Like many other #milspouses Audrey is a creative, hard working mom looking to fulfill her potential while juggling life’s many demands. Located on base in North Dakota, Audrey chose a Graphic Design Advanced Certificate Program with a Concentration in Web Design to advance her career.
We’re delighted to be working with military spouses who make it all happen, so we asked Audrey to share her experience.
Q: What are your career goals, and how will your education in graphic design help you meet those goals?
Within the next four years I hope to be successful at freelance graphic design work, and later on down the road I would love to work on bigger projects with well known companies. When I was a kid my dream was to be an animator at Pixar, and while my vision may have shifted slightly over the years, I still maintain my ultimate goal, to be exceptional at what I do and to love doing it. Continuing my education in graphic design will give me the experience and enthusiasm I need to continue with my career goals.
Q: What’s your favorite class so far?
So far I am really enjoying all of my classes, they are well put together and have a good mixture of written, verbal, and visual teaching methods. I’m an artist, so I love anything that allows me to have a little creative freedom. Photoshop Basics is the class that resonated with me the most, because I felt I could really express my vision and creativity in that class, and I learned essential information to help me understand and utilize the most important tools and terms in the program. (However, I have just started my first lecture for Illustrator Basics, and I have a feeling I am going to really have fun in this class as well.)
Q. Your work is already being featured in the Student Gallery. Congratulations! How is your coursework at Sessions College helping you to build a portfolio for a career in graphic design?
Thank you! Before I started at Sessions, I felt unsure of where to even start with building a portfolio. I had only played with Adobe programs for personal use, and never had professional experience or education with graphic design.
I had a lot of questions. What kind of graphic design work is most sought after these days? Posters? Online ads? Book covers? Was I capable of building a successful and pleasing graphic when given constraints and starting images/text by my client? These are all questions that have been answered during my time in this program. With my self doubt and uncertainties put to ease, I feel much more confident in continuing to pursue graphic design as my career.
Q: How has the MyCAA program influenced and impacted your education path and goals?
The MyCAA program is the only way I was able to afford to start furthering my education at this time. My husband is still paying his student loans, and we have two small children, so without financial aid I would have been extremely wary at the idea of adding to the monthly payments we already make, especially when I was so unsure at the time if graphic design was the right career for me.
Q: What do you see as some of the benefits of online programs? What kind of attributes are required to succeed online?
Online programs are great for anyone who needs flexibility, or for those who learn better in their own environment, and if you don’t want to pay for housing and transportation, online schools and programs give you those options. You have so much to select from when it come to online programs, but in order to succeed and not fall behind work, you have to really take interest in learning, be self motivated and disciplined, and stay focused on your goals. Creating your own reminders, as well as signing up for notifications from discussion boards is a good way to stay focused and not lose track of your progress.
Q: As a military spouse, you and your family face unique challenges. How does your education at Sessions College fit your life as a military spouse?
There are definitely challenges to living the military family life, for us (and countless other military families). Our closest family lives about thirteen hundred miles away. We currently only have one vehicle with two children, and my husband is usually gone for over two weeks every month. Given how irregular and chaotic our day to day life is, the idea of finding transportation, childcare, and the finances in order to go to school at a set time every day was, for a lack of better words, stressful. With the flexibility of Sessions College, and the fact that Sessions accepts MyCAA, I’m able to do my work whenever and wherever I can/want.
Q: What are your tips for success for those thinking about pursuing an online education?
My advice to anyone considering online education is to come up with a list of what you need in a school and what motivates you to learn. Everyone learns differently and thrives in different environments. For someone who is self driven, needs flexibility, works at their own pace, and doesn’t need regular social interaction with fellow classmates or the instructors to keep you motivated and on track, online might just be the right choice for you.
I would also advise to someone who is interested in online education to use a planner, or a calendar, to keep yourself on track with your progress, and while discussion chat rooms with your online classmates can be helpful, I would also suggest talking about your homework and assignments with your friends, or loved ones around you. Having people who care for you be involved and kept up to date on your journey can be very helpful. I find that showing my husband what I’m working on, and hearing his critique or praise, really helps me stay motivated and feel positive about the entire experience.
Visit sessions.edu to find out more applying MyCAA Military Spouse Benefits to our range of online certificate programs in Graphic Design, Web Design, Fine Arts, and more.
Brian Lorti is our Military Student Advisor. An Army veteran and lifelong learner recognized for his volunteer work, Brian uses his IT background to fix all manner of things.