Graduating, getting hired & growing up (again)

When I was 13 I went to go see How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days in theatres. Instantly, I knew three things:

  • I wanted to go to school to be a journalist like Andie Anderson.
  • I wanted to write “how-to” articles.
  • I wanted to end up with Matthew McConaughey.

Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

All jokes aside I’m very excited to share that I have officially graduated from Western University’s Masters of Media program in Journalism and Communication. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that my life has taken me in some pretty unexpected turns over the past few years. This chapter was the biggest one yet.

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After graduating from my post-grad program in PR from Western in 2015 I thought this it. I had an undergrad. I now had a specialization. Look out world!

And it was great! I got my foot in the door with a fantastic corporation, I was making amazing friends through my new job and was learning so much every day. Life was good. But then, as per usual, I started asking myself, “so now what?”. It was the first time I didn’t have an answer.

Ever since I’d graduated high school, I always knew what was next. There was always an essay to write, a project due or something else coming that had to be planned. But now, for the first time, life was very still and content.

I needed something crazy to shake it up all over again.

I always figured I’d go back to get a Masters when I was older and had more practical experience. But the more I heard about my program the more I started wondering why I wasn’t going for it now.

Being as happy as I am now, it’s hard to believe that there was a time when I doubted whether returning to school was the right decision. I was felt uneasy about the idea of taking out such a big loan when I’d been working so hard to pay down my student debt. And, to be completely honest, I had doubts about my own abilities and questioned whether a Masters was right for me. My family was incredibly supportive, which helped a lot. But, it was one conversation that I had at the time with my mentor where it all became clear. She explained, “You’re always going to have debt. Whether it’s from a new car, a wedding, a house or putting your kids through sports, life’s always going to be expensive. But the best investment you’ll ever be able to make is in yourself.” And I really believe she was right.

So I applied to grad school, got an offer, finished my contract at work, found a gig selling craft beer, moved to an apartment closer to campus and took in the last of the calm before I embarked on my toughest adventure yet.

On the first day of school I found myself surrounded by the brightest, most talented group of individuals I’d ever had the opportunity to meet. Working alongside them through the program was an absolute honour.

Fast forward through a year of intense courses, writing that challenged me more than ever before, learning the ins and outs of video and radio production and an internship that gave me my first taste of the world of journalism and communication, I found my classmates back on campus where it all began. A huge congrats to my fellow classmates. I can’t wait to see where in the world this program will take each of you.

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This is the happy part of the story. Finally walking across the stage in front of my family and getting the piece of paper that validates everything you worked so hard on. But, the journey was tough. While trying to accomplish it all, I still had the voice in the back of my head asking, “What comes after this?” While working an unpaid internship, I spent any free time I had applying to jobs all over the province wondering when my big break would come. I was out of money, moving back home and was running out of reasons to keep optimistic.

But, it all came together (as it always does). After months of searching and filling out more job applications that I can count, I got the call.  The right call.

I went and signed a contract for my first salaried position as a Communications Specialist the day after graduation. If that’s not serendipity, I’m not sure what is.

So now, here I am sitting in my new apartment with unpacked boxes all around me. I’m now a month into a job that I absolutely love in my own hometown. Who would have thought?

Do I have any idea what’s going to happen next? Nope. Haven’t a clue. But I do, however, know that right now I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

I’m sharing this for a couple reasons. First, to show my gratitude towards my friends, family and phenomenal classmates who were incredibly supportive this year. But also to show that investing in yourself is always a good decision. If this gives just one person the courage to pursue a goal or helps validate that where they’re at right now is great, I hope this entry helps.

All the best,

Shan

 

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