When I decided to enter UB as a transfer student back in *CENSORED* I was too late to get into the dorms, so I had to secure a place to live, and quickly. The off-campus housing office was located in the basement of Harriman Hall on the South Campus, and I found myself there on a warm August afternoon with my parents, flipping through apartment listings written on index cards. Returning to the office after a well-deserved pee break, I heard music - cool music - coming from around a corner and decided to check it out. It was the production room for Generation, the student magazine at UB. Suddenly I was a lot more excited about coming to UB. As the last few weeks of summer flew by I did that thing I always do where I assume things will work out a certain way and then I end up being shocked when they don't. I'd taken it for granted that the magazine would welcome a willing set of hands but that was far from how it turned out. I was interviewed (rather harshly) and asked to submit a portfolio of my work. The interview made me nervous, but life makes me nervous so that wasn't really a big deal. The portfolio thing, on the other hand, terrified me. Sure, I had one, but it kind of sucked. I turned it in thinking I'd get a polite but firm rejection after a few days. To my surprise and delight, I was accepted. Working on Generation was a revelation for me. In fact, I learned more in the basement of Harriman Hall than I did in the rest of my classes combined. The fast pace, constant budget constraints and compromises prepared me well for life in the non-profit sector. I began as a lowly production assistant and eventually worked my way up to ad production manager. It was a great place to be. Amazingly, this is all just set up for the actual point of this story. Each year Generation entered the Columbia Scholastic Press Association's Gold Circle competition, which was basically the Academy Awards of college journalism. There were categories for writing (feature, interview, sports, entertainment, etc.), editing, photography, layout, overall design, and yes, even advertising design. Over the course of my three years at Generation, I won four or five awards. One was for an article I co-wrote with my friend Julie, the rest were for ads I'd designed for a hair salon or some dive bar. I have no idea how prestigious the awards were but I was pretty damn proud of mine. Ok, so fast forward *CENSORED* years to about a week ago, and I happened upon a listing of Gold Circle winners on the internet. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me when I saw my name listed as a second place winner in the "full page black and white ad" category. A Gold Circle award I hadn't even known about, and it was second place instead of my usual honorable mention! But here's where it gets weird. I won the award a full three years after graduating from UB. Was it a mistake? Did the magazine hang on to one of my ads and enter it three years later? Did I dream the whole thing? Who knows.
Note: I soon found out that none of the other production assistants - heck, none of the other staff period - had been interviewed or gone through a portfolio review. I guess a bored editor just felt like having some fun at the newbie's expense the day I walked in. Well, I showed him... two days ago I completely ignored his Facebook friend request. Mess with the bull? Get the horns.