Dec. 23, 2020


Juliana Gonzalez-Rivas.

Name: Juliana Gonzalez-Rivas

Major: Communication Design AAS ’22 

The Pivot: Gonzalez-Rivas is at risk for complications from COVID-19, so she’s glad to be home; plus, virtual education means she doesn’t have to commute. She has used the time saved to develop Liana Rivas Designs, her Etsy business.

What’s it like to attend your first year of FIT virtually?

It was a very smooth transition. My teachers replicate in-person classes so completely, I’m not missing anything. I’m so impressed. 

But isn’t it harder to learn something over the internet?

Learning virtually has been easy, actually easier in some ways. We can get 3D-printed items mailed to us for CAD design. We share and get critiques on class calls, and if there’s a problem, the professor can show us how to fix it in real time. There are no learning barriers.

A selection of Liana Rivas Designs.

Do you wish you could see your classmates in person? 

I’m glad I’m not on campus because I am at high risk for complications if I get COVID-19. We have a group chat for our major, so we’re in contact with one another. I definitely feel like I’ve made friends. Plus, virtual classes level the playing field. I don’t have to travel, and I have more time for my business.

Tell me about Liana Rivas Designs, which you organized on Etsy.

Last year, a friend had to wear this uncool M&M costume for her job, so I made her a pair of M&M earrings. I’ve always been in love with crafts, but I never tried to sell them. She insisted on paying, and I thought, Hmm. My first items were personalized photo Rubik’s cubes.

Is that, like, a thing? 

It’s kind of a thing, but no one is making ones like mine. I use Photoshop and Illustrator. I make jewelry, stickers, decor, and photo lockets. We started selling custom face masks because people need masks. To date I’ve made over 300 sales, some of multiple items. 

Do you feel like you’re missing out on the college experience?

The college experience is different for everyone. Some people like a large college, and some want to be in a class with five other people. For us, right now, the ideal college experience is online, where we can all be safe and learning to the best of our ability.