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Do you have to know people to get involved in the design industry?

I plan on going into an environmental design program, but I’m a little bit worried about how hard it will be to get into the design world fresh out of college. I’m just worried about making connections, so I was wondering if this is a struggle for other people. #design #environmentaldesign #designers

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Glenn’s Answer

Yes Anna, but fear not! Your professors (likely working professionals themselves) and counselors are your first "people" in the industry. They're your first group for guidance...develop a good working relationship with them and you're off! See if after following steps below, you won't find a bunch of people in the industry already rooting for you. Good luck!

Glenn recommends the following next steps:

Work hard in class (duh) but ask for as much feedback from professors as they'll allow. This is good practice for when you get out of school too.
Depending on your program, seek out internships after your junior year...your advisors will help here greatly, and instructors can make recommendations or introductions too.
When in your senior year, join a professional organization (AIGA, for example) that hosts seminars and such, but most importantly meet-and-greets and professional portfolio reviews for pending graduates. Both are fantastic ways to meet other designers and potential clients/employers.

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Martijn’s Answer

I second all the recommendations from Glenn. In addition, once you start the environmental design program, you are already "in the design world". It's a first step, but you can expand from there:

Martijn recommends the following next steps:

Make connections with you fellow students, you can all help each other out now and later
Connect with guest speakers from the industry, ask what their favorite industry hangouts are (conferences, online communities etc.)
Join and interact in LinkedIn groups - ask questions, offer help/opinions etc.