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Bert Jones

BA Graphic Design & Media Arts

"I also have to give credit to SNHU and its faculty, who have been so supportive in helping me navigate transferring."

I am 35 years old, and married with four kids (ages: 8, 13, 15, 18). Currently, I work third-shift at one of the largest financial printers in the country. It's not nearly as creative as it could be (all the fun work has been done), but it pays the bills. When I'm not working, and not online for school, I also run my own freelance graphic design and photography business. This allows me to indulge in my creative side. I say all the time, “If I am not able to create, I get grumpy.” I also don't limit myself to just graphic design or photography. I also enjoy origami, knitting, crocheting, scrap booking, painting, sketching or just about anything where I can be creative. I also volunteer what little extra time I have. I volunteer with the Girl Scouts as a service unit communications rep., as well as at my children's school (which I also attended as a child) as the advisor of the yearbook program and photography club. I have also served on many committees and board of directors throughout the years.

I'm new to SNHU, but I'm not new to college. After I graduated high school in 1996, I had attended a local technical college for one semester before dropping out. I naively thought I would be an "office systems specialist" (a fancy word for administrative assistant). There was (well, still is) this side of me that loved filling out forms, typing letters, filing, attending meetings and taking notes, which probably explains why I am the secretary for every board I am ever on. Then life happened, and it wasn't until 2007, when I decided to go back to college to get my B.A. in graphic design.

Up until that point, I was completely self-taught in graphic design and photography. I learned on the job working in a local print shop. To anyone who wants to be a graphic designer, I suggest working in a print shop. Every day brings an entirely new project or new type of design, with new challenges and a new deadline. You learn so much, and you learn real fast how to be efficient and create an efficient (or clean) design, because everything is a rush job and needs to go out the door today! But even working in a print shop, I never learned the more fundamental side of design, or the "rules of design." It was always more of an "instinctual" sort of thing. They say you need to know the rules, before you can break them, and more and more clients want someone with a degree to prove they know what they are talking about, so here I am.

My goal is, someday, to be able to work from home exclusively through my freelance business. The hardest part is putting myself out there to get more business. When at the same time, I suffer from anxiety and get anxious over doing new things or meeting new people. I get excited for a new "project" or photo shoot, but then before the deadline or big day, I ask myself why I agreed to it in the first place. But, it's something I hope to overcome someday, because I love being around my family (and being able to work in my pajamas in my home studio isn't bad either). My biggest inspiration is my great aunt, whom is no longer on this earth. I would go to her house every weekend when I was younger. She was a creative individual. Even painting and sketching was a hobby for her, she enjoyed it enough to invest time in it and would always let me play with her oil paints, or pastels, and would give suggestions or teach me a different technique. She nurtured the creative passion that I have today, and I still have some of her artwork hanging in my studio as a reminder of her, and what she helped me accomplish. She was always very proud when I would show her a new project or piece I completed. My wife is my biggest supporter and gives me the time I need to complete my projects and study and do my coursework. She'll even make sure to keep the kids out of my hair if need be. I couldn't do this without her help.

I also have to give credit to SNHU and its faculty, who have been so supportive in helping me navigate transferring over from another college. I've never transferred credits before, and every online system is different and can be confusing. The faculty has been understanding and never seems to tire of my endless questions. Working third-shift, I can be hard to reach during the day. Normal business hours are when I am usually asleep, and they have been understanding of that and been accommodating (so many businesses just don't understand that even on my days off, I still need to keep "my" schedule so that my sleep doesn't get all messed up). I look forward to my future here at SNHU and what I can learn from the faculty.