“I think the Brandcenter experience is like a roller coaster in that you have this nervous/excited feeling of going up, up, up- and you know you’re going to come tumbling down at some point, but you look forward to it. “

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As I get closer to graduation, I can’t help but reflect on my Brandcenter experience.

I went to huge state school, University of Florida, comprised of 60,000 students. While my undergrad experience was great, it was hard to feel sense of belonging.

Being a student at the VCU Brandcenter is the first time I’ve felt that sense of belonging.

It’s a wonderful environment to be immersed in. People from all walks of life- some straight out of undergrad, some that have worked for years- are willing and able to listen to what you have to say and try things with you. I think this connection starts by realizing that each student here has been hand selected for this program. You’re not a number. You’re here because you have value to add.

As cliché as it sounds, the notion of “brandfam” is so true. There is such a familial dynamic to this program.

You’re basically living with these people for two years. But unlike my undergrad experience, it’s not about football games or hanging out at the bar. Instead it’s about making a really cool music video or developing a product that could save lives someday.

I love walking around our 3-floor building, never knowing what I’m going to find: someone taking a break and setting up a hammock in the basement, a group practicing their presentation – in costumes. There’s constantly stuff going on, it’s like it’s own little, weird world.

As I near graduation, I feel the normal fear and anxiety about next steps. But the beauty of Brandcenter is that deep down you know it’s going to be ok. The fear is part of the fun. It keeps you on your toes.

My experience here has taught me to love this adrenaline rush. I remember the first time I presented a project with my team in Business of Branding in front of Professor Don Just. I was scared shitless. But soon, presenting became second nature. I still have butterflies every time I present, but I enjoy the butterflies now.

-Kate Lane, Creative Brand Manager class of 2017