“I need to get better, I scribbled. “

“In a single sentence or phrase, write down why you came to the Brandcenter,” Professor Fenske ordered our class gruffly.

I am not good enough, I wrote.

“Now cross that out and write it again,” he ordered.

I need to get better, I scribbled.

“Again, but now write it differently.”

After a few moments of sitting in my chair silently listening to the scratching of pens on paper, I finally wrote:

I need more skills in my utility belt.

To me, Batman is one of the coolest superheroes. Not only is he the world’s greatest detective, but he is also able to master any skill. There are some comic book storylines where Batman has to fight against his comrades in the Justice League – especially those with unimaginable superpowers. Even though Batman is just a mere human battling titans, he manages to hold his own through the use of his inexhaustible utility belt. The pockets seem to hold every tool imaginable to defeat or render his enemies’ powers useless. To the outsider, the fight might seem to be over before it begins. Yet Batman’s use of adaptability and unending utility belt make him a competition not to be taken lightly.

I could have gotten a job after attending Boston University for undergrad. In fact, I had an offer for a junior graphic designer at a branding agency in NYC. Yet I felt that I was entering the work force without the full use of my utility kit. I was entering the competition with scarce skills and even more scarce experience. I realized that if I wanted to accomplish my career and life goals, I would need more -more skills, experiences, contacts, you name it. I would need a resource that I could draw from.

In just one semester at the Brandcenter, I have started to fill my utility belt at a rate that I didn’t think possible. I’ve learned more in the past four months than I did in my four years of undergrad. In the future, if a client or creative director ever needs something from me, I can confidently dig through my utility belt and pull out the tool they need. Have experience with a bad client? Boy do I! We need you to edit this video, can you do it? You betcha! Where are the best bagels in the area? Well, how much time do you have?

Coming to the VCU Brandcenter was quite honestly one of the best decisions I have ever made. It will make me more competitive in the job market, and it has gifted me with skills and memories that I will not soon forget. When I graduate, my heart and utility belt will both be very heavy indeed.

-Eddy Allen, art direction track, class of 2018