If we weren’t so excited about where our intern Paige Drummond is headed, we’d be sobbing instead of smiling. What started as a summer internship last year became a year of coffee runs, puppy snuggles, in-depth analysis of pop culture, and conversations full of references to The Office. Though we wish we could selfishly keep her for our own, we have no doubt that Paige is headed toward a wonderful first-step into the “real-world” at another KC women-owned company, Floc5—and thankfully still just a few steps away from our offices! (We still have some separation anxiety, especially Hugo.)

I’ve been an intern at Novella for going on a year now. What started as a summer internship, in the blink of an eye turned into a whole year. As I graduate from The University of Kansas and move on from Novella at the same time I can’t help but be sad.

This past year I’ve designed awesome things, made friends, asked questions, pet dogs, drank coffee and so much more. I spent approximately 11 billion hours building a wall with 10,000 red pins. I came up with so many bad ideas and many good ones. I got to bounce ideas off of people and collaborate with the team. I got to present my work to the clients and see my work published. I got to wear so many hats from printer-repair-woman to brand designer.

Sometimes I had to do “boring intern work” but those times were few and far between. Mostly I got to apply my skills, be a part of the team. I was trusted with things I never thought interns would be allowed to do. I worked under some of the most amazing people who supported me through all of my first experience in design and mentored me through the job hunt process. They calmed me down when real life decisions got too overwhelming and cheered me on when I got awesome opportunities. I would not be in this position graduating with full-time employment without these wonderful women (and Hugo).

And now I move on to my first full-time position, and while I’m afraid of what the “real world” will bring, I know I’m ready to handle it because of the experience I gained here. I’m a more confident person and a better designer because of all the support I was given here. Novella Brandhouse was my first design job and one I will look back and be thankful for many many years.