“Artistically unbound” is how marketing and content creation intern, freelance digital creator, and University of San Francisco (USF) student Grace Yam would describe her personal brand. When she is not working towards her Bachelor of Arts in both Music and Advertising with a minor in design or running her school’s Women in Business Club, Grace also enjoys nurturing her lifelong passion for music.
Grace began playing the piano when she was 5, which she credits for sparking her love for making music. Shortly after, she learned to play the violin and became the percussion captain for her high school’s marching band. However, Grace made it clear that she cannot be put into one box.
Due to her ever-increasing amount of interests, Grace always knew she “didn’t want to stick to just one thing.” She even recalls wanting to be a student for her entire life since academic environments would allow her to continue exploring various paths, fields and subjects. It was her inquisitive mind that led her to pursue an advertising major at USF.
When browsing the school’s website, Grace was drawn to the various creative courses the advertising program had to offer, namely video and audio production. She also noted that the program teaches its students to brand themselves, a key component in pursuing a musical career.
As a natural-born creative, Grace chose the Creative Track for her major, which requires a minor in design. She stated that her minor allows her to “be more artistic in another sense.”
Like many others in her age group, Grace spent a great deal of time on TikTok throughout the pandemic. As someone who loves learning, especially about how to kickstart her career, she began to immerse herself into the app’s career-focused community and connect with fellow creatives. One TikTok creator who produces career-centered content advised Grace to grow her own platform as a means to gain social media, marketing and content creation experience.
The creator also suggested working at startups. Therefore, Grace began what she calls her “startup path.”
Grace has done marketing work for various startups, including video conferencing platform Here FM as well as Pineapple, a job seeking platform that targets Gen Z. She is currently interning at a brand that makes reusable bottles for boba tea called BobaMate.
As a leader, Grace wants to emphasize the importance of self-care and leading by example.
“Make sure that you’re actually taking care of yourself before helping others,” she says.
Grace’s current path is far from her original goals when applying to colleges. In fact, during the application process, she chose psychology or sociology degrees for half of the schools she applied to. As a creative at heart, Grace knew deep down that this was not her passion; however, due to a lack of support and the sheer uncertainty of creative fields — especially music — she felt that this was what she had to do.
Grace even experienced depression during her junior year of high school as she felt she was running out of time to figure out a plan. However, she eventually realized that music and creativity are what truly make her happy. She now finds it far easier to find opportunities due to her noticeable passion for her work.
Grace does not always find balancing her various responsibilities to be difficult. In fact, she claims that the pure enjoyment she extracts from her work makes it difficult to distinguish between business and pleasure.
“Everything I enjoy is going towards the goals I’m trying to achieve,” Grace says.
USF’s music program has allowed Grace to refine her songwriting skills, and she aims to release her own songs in the near future.
Grace also aspires to work in the marketing department of a tech company; however, due to her curious nature, she feels that she will eventually “end up venturing out somewhere else.” Additionally, she enjoys content creation and seeks to continue growing her individual platform.
For female college students who want to break into content creation and marketing, Grace passes on a piece of advice she received during her first year: “Be scared and do it anyway.”
She elaborates by saying that, because her first year of college was completely online, she felt that she was missing out on the “college experience.” However, Grace was able to combat that FOMO by involving herself in the USF community as much as she could, which has certainly paid off.
“The most you can lose is [having] an experience you didn’t really resonate with,” Grace says. “Even if you’re scared to try something or do something, just go for it.”
Regarding the phrase “she can be both,” Grace elaborates on her desire to promote multidimensionality by saying, “We are all such multifaceted human beings, so why are we limiting ourselves to a certain box?”