Blog: Idea Exchange

Capturing Learning Along the Road Less Traveled

Amber Courtney May 7, 2018

I am not the typical college student. My Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego was official on May 5, 2018, after 20 years! In that time, I studied abroad in Spain, switched majors three times, took classes through 5 different colleges, stayed at home to raise my children, and worked along the way. Earning my degree meant I’d finally arrived at a completion point. Or so I thought.

After working so hard to acquire all of the skills and talent I’d attained over the years, how could I showcase my experiences? I know what I’m capable of, but how could I express this to potential employers? To future clients?

During my senior capstone course, I was given the opportunity to create an ePortfolio through Via by Watermark. I remember being so excited, because this became the solution to my problem of how to show my potential to the world that awaited me after graduation. I poured my heart into this opportunity and was surprised to find that I was still discovering my passions, skills, and—most importantly—my purpose.

Until that point, it was not clear to me that all of my training and experiences in the design world would merge into a newly discovered passion: To utilize my newly acquired skills to improve living environments as a way to optimize physical and emotional wellness in my community.

Creating the portfolio took an entire semester, working on small bits at a time. The most challenging part of the process was narrowing my thoughts into consolidated statements that defined me as a person. After gathering many words and undergoing a process of elimination, I found that I was discovering myself on a whole new level. Defining myself through text enabled me to add relevant, visual experiences through pictures and video. Combining each of these experiences with narrative and visuals painted a new self portrait for me and created an entire story that made sense to others, as well.

After documenting all of my learning experiences, key projects, and accomplishments in my ePortfolio, it was easy to share the link with potential employers. Immediately, I received feedback from my top internship choice, a local non-profit company named Humble Design, which responded, “Thank you so much for sharing your passion and background. I am so impressed with your lovely portfolio!”

By creating my portfolio in Via by Watermark, I was able to make the most all of the time and hard work I’d invested, and present myself in a way that secured my desired position. Success!

In the future, I plan to update my portfolio with newly acquired skills and experiences to further reveal new chapters as my life story continues to unfold. For those studying or working in a visual field like Interior Design, ePortfolios can be an extremely important and valuable tool. Mine enabled me to market myself in highly personalized, unique ways that were not possible before. And for that, I am extremely thankful.