letter to my future self

Dear Natalia of a year from now,

I know you are probably knee-deep in Portfolio review shit, but take a moment and read this before you freak out or feel disappointed.

Whatever you turn in for the review is a reflection of where you are at the moment. Embrace it. Do not design for Richard, or Louise, or Gail, or Ross, or Dan, design for yourself.

Put work in your portfolio that reflects how third year was different than second year. Show-off your new aesthetics, your acquired skills and your personal growth. Keep the work close and true to your heart. Don’t think about the what people will say about the binding, the paper, the color, the presentation, or how much money you spent printing it. Focus on the guts of this thing. Fill it with breathtaking, soul-full work that looks like you, thats feels like you, that screams you.

I know I took this approach for my Sophomore review, and that is probably why I got a 4.0 out of 5, because I kept it personal and without thinking about “what would Richard say?.” And it’s ok, 4.0 is showing room for growth and improvement.

And yes, there is always room for improvement. There will always be more to do. You can always explore more options, more layouts, different ideas, expand a project to different mediums, campaign the heck out of something, but that is not the point. Consider the Junior portfolio as checkpoint in the race, not the finish line.

Nonetheless, forget about the grade, nix the ranking system and design because you love it, not because you need to get into the Honors class or because you need a scholarship. Design without trying so hard, without being a people pleaser, don’t be teacher’s favorite. Go for broke. Design for yourself. Take it to the next level, wholeheartedly. Wake up earlier and kick some ass, as you have always done.

Make work that is challenging, new and exciting for you. Create work that makes you proud, that draws a smile on your face while you drool the keyboard. Create work that feels like you were meant for it.

I know you will surprise yourself with what you’ve got.


Natalia, the Sophomore.


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