I was a communications major as an undergrad. (Later, I heard that described as a major in nothing, which is fairly accurate.)
I used to make short videos that I'd show on campus and at local theaters. Some were good. Lots were awful. One won "Best Student" at an obscure film festival. But only because it was uncontested.
Here's one of my favorites...
I'm sharing this 15-year-old film for a couple reasons: First, it's the holidays. And second, it shows how bad my stuff really was. (Even though I thought it was great at the time.) Even the audio quality is poor. I hadn't learned technical phrases like, "mixing," "overdubbing," or "turn the volume down."
Ira Glass says if you want to be creative, you've got to be willing to do really bad work for a long time. Here are two things I think anyone in portfolio school should be doing:
1. You've got to experiment. As you can probably tell, this video was strung together from a bunch of unrelated footage. I wasn't trying to make anything brilliant. I was just having fun.
2. You've also got to get as many eyes on your work as possible. When I finished any of these videos, I'd submit them a monthly screening. No matter how bad they were. I didn't mind people merciless judging them it, because I could always walk away and do something better.