Some of our graduates found the skills they learned in the Journalism program enhanced their abilities in suprising ways!
After graduating from the Holland College Journalism program at the age of 19, I immediately knew I was not cut out to become a journalist. I lacked the drive and dedication required to do justice to the job, and while I’d had fun and gained invaluable experience as a writer, I knew I would move forward and pursue other career possibilities.
However, the prospect of gaining a degree in just two more years with the joint program between Holland College and UPEI was very appealing, and after taking off several years to travel and work abroad, I returned to UPEI to complete my degree, where I met my husband Tyler, also a Holland College Journalism graduate.
Having my Holland College diploma and my UPEI degree opened up so many doors for me. I was accepted to the Bachelor of Education program at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and gained employment teaching at an Ontario international school in Malaysia for two years. I now teach Grade 2 in a small city in Manitoba.
None of these opportunities would have been possible for me without the skills I developed in the newsroom at Holland College: persevering when life presents you with challenges, knowing when to ask for help, and using your writing skills to help you succeed in life.
After not putting much effort into college in Ontario, I realized I needed to take my post-secondary education more seriously. I loved to write, so I researched various journalism programs including Holland College. I was intrigued by the on the job training and was assured when the instructors me that I would be learning in a functioning newsroom with other aspiring journalists.
I produced more written copy in that first year than I had in my entire educational career. In the beginning, most of my submissions were returned splattered with red ink requesting me to spellcheck or just simply, “YOU’RE FIRED.” After my first year in the program I interviewed for a summer position as a reporter for an online news website. It was there I put to use the interviewing, writing, and editing skills I acquired at Holland College. I was hired back the following summer and continued working at the site as a reporter and sports videographer until I left the business to pursue a career in education.
After graduating teacher’s college I realized I was one of many teachers in search of a job in Canada. It’s difficult enough to sell yourself in person, but selling yourself through a cover letter and résumé is a whole other beast. I’ve successfully applied to schools in northern parts of Canada, a Canadian international school in south east Asia, and, most recently, a school in the Prairies. Without a doubt, all of my success in gaining employment came directly from the skills and instruction I received at Holland College. To create a standout résumé and an effective cover letter, I relied on constructing the concise and well-crafted sentences I had been trained to write during my time in the program.
I firmly believe I would not have been successful finding employment at home or abroad as an educator without having completed the journalism program at Holland College.
I started the Journalism program at Holland College with every intention of becoming a professional journalist and, more importantly, I left the program feeling completely prepared to do that job. However, after about a year on the job in two different places in New Brunswick I knew, for a variety of reasons, reporting wasn’t my calling. Since leaving the field, I’ve pursued a career in education, and today I work as a high school English and Social Studies teacher. It would be easy to look at my time at Holland College as a waste, since I’m no longer working in the specific field I trained for, but that would foolish, since I still use so many of the skills I learned at Holland College every day.
The Journalism program at Holland College taught me, perhaps above anything else, how to organize and present information to an audience in a way that enlightens and often entertains them. As a teacher, that particular skill is priceless. When I construct my daily lessons or prepare lecture notes, especially in my history courses, I often think of the story structures and strategies I learned at Holland College. Beyond teaching, I could see this skill set being useful in business, sales and politics, among many other professions.
Furthermore, the practical writing experience and training I received at Holland College has proved invaluable as an English teacher. My students learn to write with clarity, purpose and organization, thanks to lessons I learned at Holland College. My ability to provide clear and useful feedback is also enhanced by years of editing my own work and the work of peers both in the Holland College classroom and as a professional journalist.
Finally, the ability to talk with people, to get to know them and to make them feel valued and comfortable talking with you is absolutely vital to a teacher. Without a doubt, Holland College helped me develop those skills, as no reporter can be successful without building a rapport with sources, colleagues and interview subjects. Today I use those skills when conferring with parents, talking to administrators and communicating with students.
When I started the journalism program at Holland College I did not think I would be a teacher some day, but I think it’s safe to say I would not be the teacher I am today without Holland College.