Dionel Rodriguez | Graphic Designer
Journey To Becoming a Digital or Graphic Designer
It was the summer of 2007, and I found myself in Thailand as an exchange student in a small town called Hankha. I had just passed a junior year of high school, and as part of a scholar program called SEO, I had to choose a summer activity that led me to that beautiful country. Classes began, and I was now a student of Hunkhapittiyakhom (High School) in Chainat.
Out of the many classes that I took, the one that resonated with me the most was a Photoshop class where we learned how to manipulate photos. It was my first time using design software, and I immediately gained interest. Looking back, I was just amazed at the ability to edit things with such ease. That was the unintended spark that led me to pursue this career.
Months later, back in New York City, where I lived, I basically forgot about design and photoshop and instead focused my attention on getting to college. I didn’t do what I wanted to do, but for some reason, I wanted to learn about business because I wanted to run a business for myself and not fall into the 9-5 shift for the rest of my life.
I landed In college, SUNY Morrisville, and I quickly realized that I didn’t want to do business because numbers were not really my thing at the time, so I switched majors to Liberal Arts until I could figure out what I wanted to do. Years passed, and I was getting by until I decided to transfer to City Tech in Brooklyn. When a college advisor asked me what I wanted to study, I couldn’t really say because I just wasn’t sure of anything. He started asking me a few questions, and I explained everything I liked doing and my experiences in Thailand. And at the end, he recommended me to try out Advertising & Communications Design. I gave it a shot with nothing to lose, and instantly, I knew that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
As I learned more about these awesome design tools, I experienced the same feeling I had when I was in Thailand in that Photoshop class. It was a full-circle moment for me. I cruised through the rest of the college years and did really well in the field. I began freelancing within months of getting into the professional industry and landed quite a few jobs, including one that really helped me understand the real-life aspect of a creative person, a content manager position at Top Fashion in Long Island City.
I am forever grateful to that college advisor for helping me figure out what my career is today. It’s what I always wanted to do; I just wasn’t able to figure it out without that little help. Today I freelance as a Digital or Graphic Designer, and I work full time as a Senior Web Developer.