Weeks and weeks of frantically compiling work. The stress of presenting final concepts to the Maryland Food Bank. The melancholy of setting up a gallery space showing our work. The rush of putting in one hundred and fifty per cent for all the people who had come out to celebrate this apprenticeship with us. To say that I’m spent is a gross understatement. And thus I’m cautiously accepting that the greatest hurdles of this apprenticeship are behind us.

Up to this point, I’ve been reluctant to accept the narrative that this was a mind-numbingly insane workload, but even I have to admit that this apprenticeship was indeed intense. Public speaking is hard as hell, and speaking to a crowd is even harder. Being put on the spot is run-of-the-mill at this agency, but I kind of love it. To dismiss this experience as a “good internship” is to do a disservice to what Lorem Impact is. I’ve never been made more accountable. I’ve never been pushed in quite this direction in quite this way. This experience made me a more compassionate person.

I may be fresh in my career, but I know it’s not normal to take pay cuts to pursue a higher purpose in marketing. It’s not normal for employees to throw networking parties and stir up events just out of appreciation for their peers. It’s not normal to be in an environment that acknowledges how bad work habits are formed. None of this normal because idfive isn’t normal. The people here are fundamentally decent, exciting, creative, and give a shit about what they do.

After ten rigorous weeks, this is my biggest takeaway: Art and design need not only be entertainment, and marketing need not only benefit the wealthy. At the intersection of design, business, art, and education, we can make powerful things happen. We can make things happen even when our government and systems fail us. And even the smallest contribution supports a world of empathy.

I’m incredibly lucky to have had both my design sense so empowered, and my capacity for sympathy expanded. I’ve been truly humbled by the idfive team in my experience here. Thank you, thank you, thank you all.