CAS News

Future Choices and Fortune Cookies

“It’s not whether they think we’ve won, it’s whether we think we’ve won.”

This quote, attributed to Secretariat owner Christopher Chenery, has inspired Jordan Richards since his youth. Growing up as a triplet in Flower Mound, Texas, Richards joined the staff of the school newspaper in high school. It was there that he first got involved in photography, editing and graphic design. When it came time to choose a college, Richards followed his older brother to Oklahoma State University.

“I wasn’t the freshman who came onto campus knowing what he wanted to do with his life,” Richards admitted. “I was the guy who literally had no clue. I always felt like being an art major was somehow settling, or not prestigious. I felt like I ‘had’ to be pre-med or pre-law, which was terribly wrong.”

Coming in as an undeclared major in the Spears School of Business, Richards chose a political science/pre-law major at the end of his freshmen year. By his sophomore year, he was working as an undergraduate teaching assistant.

“I was in all these pre-law, legal research, and political science classes, as well as teaching two American government classes by myself,” Richards said. “By then, I realized that I loved teaching, but I hated my major. I was anxious all the time and seriously considered going back home. I was so lost and so discouraged.”

Remembering his love of the discipline while working for his school newspaper, Richards decided at the beginning of his junior year to switch to graphic design.

“And they actually told me that I needed to think it over, so they sent me home to sleep on the decision,” Richards said with a laugh. “And I went back the next day and said I definitely wanted to major in graphic design. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made in my life, because I found my passion.”

That passion led Richards into an internship with OSU Communications.

“Richards’ creative talent was a valuable asset to the team,” said Megan Horton, director of digital marketing. “He was an ideal student intern — the kind that transcends the role that exists and uses his ideas and drive to truly make a difference on our team.”

Richards’ work included redesigning the OSU student ID card, designing print advertisements, social media graphics, animated gifs, photography and more.

On Dec. 9, Richards opened a fortune cookie at a local Chinese restaurant that read, “3 months from today, something good will happen.”

“I marked it down in my phone as ‘Fortune Cookie Day,’” Richards said. “Sure enough, three months later, on March 9, I was working in New York (on another internship opportunity), and I got an offer to be a visual design intern for Amazon.”

That opportunity led to a full-time job offer from the Seattle-based company, which Richards plans on beginning after his graduation in May. With successes also came struggles, but Richards kept moving forward and found his place.  

 “I went through a lot of anxiety, and even serious bouts of depression,” Richard said. “But my time as a graphic design major has taught me to be more confident in myself, in my abilities, and persevering in the face of obstacles. Everybody struggles with something. I wish more than anything that I could tell my former self, ‘Breathe. It’s going to be ok.’ But as weird as it is, I’m thankful for the challenges I faced, and I think I’m the person I am today because of them.”