Towards the end of university, I began seriously thinking about my career options, and what I could do with an English degree. I decided that a career in the marketing field would be a great fit for me, and would give me the opportunity to apply my communications and creative skills. I enrolled in a branding course from U of T’s Continuing Studies program and loved it. Problem was: I didn’t know where to go from there. I did a couple internships, but it wasn’t until I tried to write basic copy at my aunt’s PR firm that I realized: this is a learned skill, and one that university did not prepare me for.
Two of my aunts work in PR, and they assured me that I didn’t need further schooling to get a job. But… others did. Everyone I know who got a job out of a general arts degree did so with a 1-2 punch: the postgraduate certificate.
Like a good student, I started researching my options. I decided that a communications and public relations program could best improve upon my skills. There are currently only a few one-year PR postgraduate options in the central Toronto area: Seneca at York, Humber waaaaay in the west end, and Centennial at Pape and Mortimer. Centennial is the most central, but it also happens to stand out amongst other schools for better reasons:
- I’ve consistently met Centennial graduates working in their field with shining reviews of the college. Some I knew, some I happened to meet through work, and some I was introduced to by Barry Waite, Coordinator of Centennial’s CCPR program.
- Centennial PR students got consistent mainstream media coverage throughout 2012-13.
This was a standout feature that could not be ignored. Centennial’s PR students were gaining exposure while still in college.
Fast-forward to now: three weeks into the program. Yes, some stereotypes ring true. My class consists of many girls with long hair and pink laptops, diversified by a few guys and a few international students. The classes are fun, and the workload is challenging yet practical. Our teachers are all experienced professionals who encourage our curiosity and career ideas. Every project has a practical element to help build our portfolio and get us thinking about where we’d like to work. We’re regularly tweeting, blogging, planning events, and making contacts with potential employers while researching companies we’d like to work for. We write several articles and project outlines a week. It seems daunting now, but there’s only two-and-a-half months until first semester is over.
Looking forward, I am excited to develop a portfolio of writing, event management, and design, centred around innovation and effective communications practices. Whether creating a Gantt chart or infographic, I’ll learn to keep it simple and engaging. I’ll participate in networking events, seek out workplaces, and become a member of IABC and CPRS. Best of all, I’ll start my career as a PR professional, from the best college in the province.*
*Centennial’s CCPR program has the highest student satisfaction rate and employment rate compared to similar programs across Ontario, according to Dean Nate Horowitz.