“I didn’t go to a four-year university, and I still got a great job.”
For many, across generations and geographic regions in this country, attending a four-year university is no longer the gold standard in education, it’s just the standard. An essential, even perfunctory, part of one’s resume. Without it, the job search is deemed an even higher hill to climb.
Well, I was just hired as a graphic designer at Mustang Marketing—the biggest and most successful marketing company in Ventura County—and I have yet to attend a four-year university. I received my AA degree from Moorpark College with an emphasis in graphic design, and I had plans to transfer to a university, but life took me down a different path, and that path came with a beautiful daughter.
I used to feel insecure about this divergent path from the rest of my peers in the working world. But, as taking care of my daughter became my everlasting top priority, attending formal classes and having a full-time job were not possible. So I found another way.
I established myself as a freelance designer and built my online portfolio from the ground up. Every client was an opportunity to learn something new—a new industry and a new skill. What I didn’t know I taught myself through various online seminars and old-fashioned books.
After six years of designing exciting online and print projects for clients like Vertical Heaven Indoor Climbing Gym, Moorpark High School and Mee’s Kut (my designed label is still in Bristol Farms stores everywhere!), I had—before I fully realized it—established a strong reputation, eye for design and strategic mindset. And I did it all without a framed diploma from a four-year university.
Of course, I am not knocking such an education at all. As my daughter gets older, I think seriously about continuing my formal education, further honing my skills and experience. But forging this alternative path has proved no less valuable or successful. After all, I’m here, working for this great company, having lunch with great coworkers and completing designs for great clients. And I’m proud of that.
Click here to read Mallorie’s full bio.