Over the past four years, I have learned a variety of different things at Ryerson.
I’ve learned about the journalism industry, discovered what makes people tick while completing a psychology minor, and accumulated a number of very important lessons that I will be taking with me through life.
Before starting university, I heard that it would be harder to maintain the same grades I received in high school. However, I soon became less worried about what grade to expect at the top of my assignments and more concerned about whether or not I was performing to the best of my abilities.
It all started on my first day of class. This lesson came from my journalism professor Kamal Al-Solaylee. I was nervous about starting a new chapter in my life, but thanks to this man, I spent the next four years not stressing over school work because of what he said my first hour of class.
He told us not to be too concerned about our grades, because no one will ever ask us for our transcript when we’re applying for a job. Instead, our focus should be on doing our best to produce work that we feel proud of and that we feel is the best we are capable of creating.
Journalism, like many other arts-based programs, is heavily reliant on a professional portfolio. Over the past four years, that’s what we’ve all been working toward – creating the perfect portfolio in the hopes that one day we will get hired.
To this day, I have stayed true to his advice. I can’t say I’ve ever made it on the dean’s list during my time at Ryerson, but what I can say is that I’ve always submitted the best work I was able to produce and have never once doubted myself.
At the end of the day, I have a portfolio which speaks for itself, and that’s what really matters to me when it comes down to it. I feel I have gotten the most out of my education here and can safely say I’m walking away with useful knowledge for the future.
And I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Michelle-Andrea Girouard, a fourth-year journalism student, said she got great advice from Ryerson’s chair of journalism, Ivor Shapiro, when she was struggling with “maintaining a professional appearance versus embracing who I am creatively.”
He told her that it’s important to stand out in the professional world and doing so shows that you’re not afraid to express who you are as an individual.
Girouard said it was good advice to hear in her early 20s. She decided to finally dye her hair silver and start wearing clothing that embraces how she feels inside.
“It may be a silly change to some, but to me it’s like I’ll be announcing who I am on the inside to the outside world,” she said.
“It’s very refreshing and freeing. ‘Be yourself’ was basically his advice — inside and out — and that’s what I’m doing.”
By the time graduation rolls around, I will hopefully not only have gathered all the necessary skills to pursue a career in my chosen field, but also learned life lessons that will help me become a healthy and successful adult.
This is the first of my “What I learned at Ryerson” series. Each week, The Ryersonian will feature students who have learned valuable life lessons at Ryerson that you can’t find in any old textbook.