No matter who you are or what you study, there is one question that every student and new grad dreads: “So, what do you want to do with your life?”
Most of us worry about not having a complete answer, but in reality, most students haven’t been pursuing a single career option since the first grade. Instead, we find our perfect career fit by evaluating our skills, experiences, and what we love to do. Being uncertain about your professional path can actually be beneficial; it will encourage you to explore every option and find one that you really love. The next step? Finding the educational program that will lead you towards your new dream job. For Katryn Go, Ryerson University’s G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education was where she found her perfect career fit.
For Katryn, teaching seemed ideal. She loves being part of a team and is a strong communicator. Initially, it seemed like her skills and leadership qualities would be perfect for a career in education, but after the first few months of the program, she realized it wasn’t the right fit for her.
Rather than being discouraged, Katryn saw her career change as an opportunity for self-reflection. She realized that she had developed valuable skills in her teaching program that could be utilized in another field, and she decided to explore other options. After taking an aptitude test, Katryn discovered that her abilities in presenting, strategic planning, thinking creatively, and working with others were also well suited to the Public Relations sector.
“I knew I had to follow those passions if I wanted to truly be happy moving forward in my professional career,” Katryn says.
As she researched Public Relations certifications, Katryn was impressed by the diverse educational options offered by Ryerson University’s G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education. The Chang School had multiple intensive and fast-tracked programs to accommodate students with different schedules, allowing them to complete their education alongside other commitments. She initially considered taking night classes so she could work during the day, but she decided that the 3 month long Public Relations Intensive was the best option for her.
“I loved the idea of getting everything done in 3 months and being ready to begin applying to jobs in the field by fall,” she says.
“I was itching to get out there and start my career and felt time was of the essence.”
The Public Relations Intensive program at The Chang School consists of six courses that are each approximately two weeks long in duration. The program runs for three months and students attend class full-time from Monday to Friday, enabling them to be immersed in their studies and graduate in a relatively short time span.
While an intensive program may seem challenging, Katryn’s instructors and the Chang School administration were incredibly supportive and communicative, smoothing her transition into a new program. Her teachers, skilled professionals with years of experience in the field, brought a unique flair and individual perspective to their classes.
“It was amazing learning from them,” Katryn says.
“The anecdotes they shared about their personal journeys in the industry helped me envision what I might encounter in my own career.”
Alongside their inspiring classes, her instructors were understanding of their students’ heavy course load and provided flexible scheduling options to ensure an ideal learning environment. The Chang School showed its commitment to supporting the success of students by setting up one-on-one meetings to answer questions and deal with concerns they might have. Additionally, Katryn’s class was small, consisting of only 16 students, which solidified a sense of community and a team mentality.
“We quickly became each other’s network of support,” she says.
The supportive atmosphere in the Public Relations Intensive proved valuable to Katryn as she faced the inevitable challenges of student life. Since she had no previous Public Relations experience, Katryn struggled with feelings of self-doubt common to many students. Would she be as successful in the course as her classmates who had already worked in the field?
As it turned out, the team mentality of the Public Relations Intensive created a collaborative atmosphere, and Katryn and her classmates were able to learn from other students’ previous Public Relations experience. As the course went on, they realized that each person in the class had unique skills, talents, and work experiences to contribute, and each person had knowledge that the class could learn from.
“Getting to know my classmates and build relationships with each of them definitely helped me overcome my issues of self-doubt and self-consciousness,” Katryn says.
Today, Katryn views her choice to attend the Public Relations Intensive program at The Chang School as one of the best she’s ever made. The fast-paced nature of the program prepared her for the actual conditions of the Public Relations industry. As a current PR intern with Veritas Communications, she is already using the concepts she learned in class to help her clients succeed. Moreover, Katryn was able to build on her existing skill set during the course, solidifying her confidence.
Katryn still keeps in touch with her instructors, a few of whom have acted as references during her job hunt. She and her classmates also remain close and rely on each other as professional resources and for continuing support. Even after her graduation from The Chang School, Katryn is still part of a tight-knit community.
When asked about any advice she has for aspiring Public Relations professionals, Katryn says that the most important lesson she learned was the power of networking and building close relationships with others in her field.
“Where possible, I always try to initiate a coffee date, exchange business cards, or extend a LinkedIn connection. Everyone I’ve met in this industry so far has been so willing to offer advice or assistance in some way, and as a newbie in the field, I’m so grateful for that,” she says.
For students who may be unsure of what their future holds, Katryn’s success proves that it’s ok to be unsure of what career will be right for you. In fact, exploring different options and understanding your strengths will make you a more successful professional in the long run, and will help you choose a fulfilling path. For Katryn, the wrong career led to the right one; exploring different options helped her understand what she really wanted from her professional life. So next time someone asks about your life plan, tell them that you’re exploring your options to find a career that you love. And once you do, Ryerson University’s G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education has the program that will lead you towards your career fit.