From Photoshop to Lightroom, any college student can level up their creativity if they can make the leap. Follow Alexis, Dani, Olivia, Brian, and Eric as they become more than just students in this series created in partnership with Adobe Creative Cloud.
Running a startup is crazy. It’s absolutely hectic. I love it. Since that day in lab when my professor and I stumbled across something that was going to change the space of biotech consumption, my life has become completely about efficiency and effectiveness. The daily grind is tough, but I don’t mind working hard when it’s something I’m passionate about. So far, every obstacle I’ve met, I’ve been able to overcome. Re-negotiating production contracts? I’ll squeeze that in my 10-12 today. Attending an investors conference? My pitch is polished - just put me in front of them. There’s no doubt that I’ve got the financials and science behind my product down pat.
But something that I know nothing about is how to market to consumers. The campaign strategy and the components you constantly have to be thinking about — social media presence, advertising expenses, brand reputation — are such alien concepts to me. I could passionately lecture to consumers about the science all they want, but I can’t just expect them to buy it. The product is good, but we need to get the word out there.
While I’m waiting to onboard a marketing team, I do want the crux of our campaign to be something I craft myself. I want to communicate precisely what I believe in, in a way that’s impactful in the marketplace and digestible for a big audience. I know it is important to have sleek, professional website banners that still capture my excitement towards the product. While I have rudimentary UX/UI skills, I found two softwares that sounded like they would do the trick — Adobe Spark and XD. Ever the efficiency nut, I like how Spark is accessible to beginners with visual guides and pre-existing templates that streamline graphic creation, enabling me to create stunning social graphics that fit both web and mobile. My marketing team can then use XD to coedit the UX of the website and reuse design elements across different platforms. I may not know much about marketing, but that sounds like an effective, impactful way of grabbing consumer attention. I’m actually downloading the free trial right now, so I’ll let you know how it goes if I have time tomorrow — how about we pencil in 5:30-5:45pm?
Things that flow: numbers into equations, and equations into solutions. But also, satin. Chiffon. Voile. These things just make sense to me.
Sure, math is fun — it’s exhilarating knowing that you’re working with something tangible, real, and absolute. For me, nothing beats the feeling you get when you figure out how the universe functions (and, subsequently, your professor gives you an A).
The other side of me hungers to create, and in no way do my STEM classes let me fully harness my creativity like fashion does. In this world, everything is both chaotic and calculated. I freely throw colors onto my fabric, I deftly arrange tangled lines into patterns, and I meticulously assemble every component of the outfit. How this deliberate madness evolves into a holistic piece that just screams avant garde — now that feeling is truly incomparable.
So as much as I can, I take advantage of any opportunity to create. Between classes, I often find myself on Photoshop, manipulating images of fashion photography that inspire me as I sketch my own concepts on new layers, my freehand designs teleporting between my tablet and computer with ease. During study breaks, I create sparkling sleek vector art using Illustrator and effortlessly switch over to Photoshop to edit them onto real clothing. After grueling PSETs, I open up my saved progress on my fashion magazine in InDesign and meticulously organize both dazzling photos of Haute Couture and my own innovative attempts into monthly publications, adding fancy titles above perfectly placed images.
And so, every day, the colorful Creative Cloud software dots my screen. In the mornings, I see the orange of Illustrator and blue of Photoshop, beckoning me to explore a new concept. By the end of the night, these colors transform into the pink of InDesign, signaling the end of my project. And these things just make sense to me.
After all, they flow.
It was like sorbet. Pastel skies, a soft glow over everyone’s laughing faces. It was sweet, but with a bite. I knew this was the last time we would be together before we had different friends in different places. Before we went off to college and had to worry about the real world. About jobs. Grades. But now, our beach week of senior year, we could ignore the future and celebrate our childhood together. I stood back and watched as my high school friends frolicked in the sand without thought.
I saw the shots. My friends racing to the shore: Click. The sandcastle making contest: Click. I clicked and clicked, sitting on the sand. They trusted me to capture these beautiful moments. With granules of sand still in my hair, camera, and backpack, I headed back to the beach house.
My fingers rushed over my keyboard. Enter — password accepted. My photos.
While the sunset was breathtaking in real life, it didn’t quite translate on camera. Almost every photo seemed to have a flaw. Too little contrast on one. Blurry faces in another. I knew my friends would be asking for the photos from that night, expecting to have a token of their last moments as high schoolers.
Daunted by the time crunch, I opened up Lightroom. I used the clarity tool to fix the blurriness, then got to work on the contrast and curves. The photo was already turning out a lot better, but it wasn’t perfect yet and I had to run errands. Those photos synced perfectly onto the Lightroom on my phone, so I edited as I walked to my next destination. It was just as easy as on my laptop! Furiously tapping away, I added a graduated filter and post-crop vignette — beautiful finishing touches. Done! I saved the edits as a preset, downloaded the images onto my phone, and shared them with my friends.
I stopped walking and admired my work. All I could think of was wow. Lightroom saved the only documentation of our last laughs, last sunsets, last beaches before we all went to college — something that sat so bittersweet in my heart but was so beautiful.
Excited and confident. That’s how I felt when I triumphantly pressed submit on my job applications. I leaned back into my chair and
breathed a sigh of relief. How many did I write? Definitely more than 20. But everyone knows that junior year summer is important for getting a feel of the professional work environment and landing a sweet full-time return offer.
For the first five applications, I felt like the process was painstakingly tedious and slow. However, after I got a feel for the three main steps, I was churning these out like clockwork.
Step 1: update the resume. I remember spending hours trying to fine tune my resume using different templates on other software, but they all seemed too constricting. Extra spacing here, wider margins there, and all of a sudden my text was off the page. And I needed to customize it a little for each company — I just couldn’t see how I was going to do this 19 more times. Finally, I decided to take matters into my own hands and downloaded Adobe InDesign. With InDesign, the text and dashed lines fell exactly where I wanted them, and the tweaks never created more problems. The result: a high-impact, highly customizable resume that was ready to be shared with recruiters.
Step 2: create sample work. Many firms had an option to submit a sample pitch deck in response to a case study for a mock company. I
had written reports on business scenarios before but never actually created a pitch deck. Slightly apprehensive, nonetheless I began, this time using Adobe Illustrator as my toolbox. An hour later on my first case study, I was hooked — hooked on the ability to bring the mock company and my investment thesis to life. Illustrator was the perfect software to create a logo for the company as well as a plethora of custom infographics. My slides were polished, and both the logical and visual flows truly made the deck stand out. Armed with this weapon, I tackled case study after case study.
Step 3: submit the application and wow your future bosses.
Backpack slung over my shoulder, camera in hand, and skateboard afoot, I can’t help but grin into the wind as I launch myself with one
shove and go spinning down the asphalt pavement. In college, traveling between classes is hardly a drag for me. I weave between students who, weighed down by their books and bags, face the daily drudgery of the campus commute. Zipping down the sloped streets, I can make it from my furthest class back to the dining hall in three minutes tops.
As much as others may laugh to hear it - skateboarding is an art. I’ll say it proudly to anyone who will listen. I can close my eyes, feel the moment when my shoes lift off, and let the board glide free underneath. It pirouettes through the air — one, two turns. A 720 kickflip. I ride on, my shoulders a little straighter, my chest a little higher, and my heart a little faster. There is nothing quite like it — especially when you film it.
I could spend hours rehearsing and perfecting a single trick, maybe falling a couple times, and certainly tripping more often than that. At the end of the day, though, I can dust myself off and wrap up those scraps and bruises. None of that matters — as long as I capture the one time I get it right. That perfect shot is possible through the discovery of Rush where I can record each trick as I fly through the air. What’s even better is the editing function — I can edit from wherever I am! And to take my creativity to the next level, I can instantly import to Premiere Pro.
With the handful of tricks I’ve learned over the years in Premiere Pro, I find myself immersed in the video-editing process on my laptop (sometimes in class), on my phone, and on my iPad. With an entire library of my skateboarding videos, I can take my skateboarding with me and relive it — even on a snowy day in New England.
Maybe skateboarding is just a hobby, but with a couple of carefully edited shots, the average kickflip turns into an epic leap.
The Crimson's news and opinion teams—including writers, editors, photographers, and designers—were not involved in the production of this article.