Alumni Success Story

Michael Rurka: The Digital Nomad

February 23, 2017 | Alumni Success Story

A decision faced by so many new grads:

Build a Career
or
Travel the World

What if you chose to do both?

Before graduating with a Diploma in Graphic Design from the New Brunswick College of Craft & Design, Michael Rurka had already created an illustration that would be featured in Applied Art Magazine. Immediately after graduating he was hired up by Ginger Design with the help of a provincial wage-incentive program. Now four years out of college and four startups later, Rurka is successful in a way that is only possible with today’s technology.

With adequate ambition, a graphic designer can make their mark from anywhere in the world. While designing full-time he has sojourned in nine different cities in six countries. Japan drew him first: “Tokyo represented to me the highest level I could go. It was the place to be, it was so mysterious. I had this vision of Tokyo, that I was going to become design enlightened.”

Often working from tiny apartments and coworking spaces, he creates clever web design for Nurx, an online birth control prescription and delivery service. Though mainly involved with user interface, he is also responsible for creating hilarious, Trump-inspired ads for the company.

While he loves a good excuse to design, he does not like being tied up permanently in a particular job. His freedom is so important that he works in the somewhat volatile world of startups: “It’s a great deal of self-discipline to work for startups, and to work remotely. You have to get up; you have to do the work.”

To stay grounded while uprooting himself every month, Rurka tracks his life. Every day and every week he lists the things he learned, the things he experienced, and the things he accomplished. By tracking his experiences, Rurka has been able to identify trends and make changes. He considers this to be his single best tool for designing the life he wants.

Whatever his methods, he has without doubt accomplished a great deal since graduation in 2013. How do you hit the ground running when you leave college? Rurka attributes his success to never wavering on his value as a designer. “You’re selling confidence, you’re selling the solution,” he says. And the world is looking to buy.

– Allison Green, NBCCD Recruiter and Textile Design Alumna/Mixed Media Sculptor

New Brunswick College of Craft & Design

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