BY Kristina Zhou

Artists are usually represented as the tortured soul: the ones who express their debilitating misery, impassioned curiosity and dark desires through the lenses of their work. The few who make it must be persistent, courageous and truly passionate; as there is an unstable and limited scope of employment for artists.

With no anchoring guidelines on how or what to create, the appetite to execute must come from themselves, thus artists are constantly learning, exploring and endlessly striving for meaning, in order to create something that stands out, whether it be; paintings, poetry, sculptures or films.So Blitz thought it was only fitting that we use quotes from legendary artists, who have succeeded in a cutthroat environment, to answer a common university student, career dilemma: imposter syndrome. Feeling intimidated, overwhelmed and underqualified? Take heart in the wisdom of these legendary artists.

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” Vincent Van Gogh 

Smaller tasks can have a cumulative effect and incrementally push you towards an upwards trajectory.Here's a universally hard truth: no one wakes up and immediately becomes a superstar.You don’t just randomly rock up in pyjamas, with no experience and get accepted into a big corporation. Most people don’t have one lucky break: they consistently put in effort over time. Don’t think of your final goal as a daunting and impossible destination. Be systematic: break your final goal down into smaller bite sized tasks. In terms of specifics: firstly, start by doing research about potential companies that you would like to work for. Really understand what type of work they do, who their clients are, what their values are and even what type of charitable organisations they support. This will enable you to gather information regarding the type of work experience/personality that will align with their company culture/vision. 

Secondly, start attending networking events to really broaden your connections and ask questions firsthand! Don’t be afraid to ask company representatives about their day to day work schedule and what criteria they measure their potential candidates against.If the conversation is flowing well - be brave and ask if you can assist them in any way or shadow them to gain practical experience. From both your individual research and networking events you should now have a set list of criteria that you believe will make you stand out.Underneath each criterion, create smaller tasks that you think will help you reach each individual requirement. 

“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all.” Michelangelo 

A strong and tireless work ethic is a timeless, tried and tested formula for success.If you have good grades - that does put you on a higher playing field but the lack of work experience means it’s time to start NOW. Make cold calls to RELEVANT smaller companies or not for profit organisations and offer to volunteer for free/ask to shadow an employee in a field related to yours. Send tailored resumes and cover letters and always follow up two weeks later. Be persistent: you will get rejected by a vast majority, but apply everywhere and show that you’re passionate, determined and eager to learn. Even ask university clubs and societies if there are leadership or volunteer positions where you can exercise your interpersonal and communication skills, as well as demonstrate that you can work collaboratively in a team! These skills are vital and transferrable between any organisation.

“Every artist was first an amateur.”  Ralph Emerson

You have to start somewhere. Your second last year is the perfect time to do work experience- don’t feel threatened by the looming possibility of graduation, ignore feelings of embarrassment regarding your ‘late’ start- if you keep thinking it’s too late, you’ll never begin and you’ll forever be floating in limbo, with no direction. So start now, take action, stay focused and remember: it’s only too late when you stop striving. 

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