When I started to get the ball rolling on my early career, people started reaching out to me. They’d ask me if I wouldn’t mind talking to young people they knew who were interested in the same career field, or for those who just needed some guidance.
In no way did I think I was qualified to do this, however people seemed to really trust what I had to say based on my experiences so far, weird right? However, I’ve always loved public speaking, and people tell me I give great advice (although sometimes I need to work on taking my own). I also think I can relate to students about certain things such as the the jobs I work, my lifestyle, and the fact that I’m still a student too.
So far I’ve had the most experience talking to college and university students, but I love speaking to students of all ages.
I’ve had old high school teachers, coaches, and friends approach me to talk to their high school students. I’ve also had former college instructors ask me to speak on panels to graduating students from the program I was once in.
College & University Students
My first experience talking to a college group was the year after I graduated from Sheridan College in the journalism broadcast program (btw, one of my best decisions to take that program). Alongside some of my peers, we got to talk to current students about our experience in the program, what we’re doing now, and give them career advice.
During this panel, I had no idea if people would find me relatable and I was so relieved that they did. Many of them approached me afterwards to ask me questions about my jobs, getting my feet wet in the industry, and what school was like for me at the time as I had just started at Ryerson University in the journalism program.
I loved being able to share my personal stories, but also that:
it’s important to follow your own path, comparing yourself to others constantly is a waste of energy
it’s crucial to network as much as possible, don’t burn bridges
you are your own limit
it’s okay to change career paths after graduation
One of my biggest take aways from speaking to post secondary students is that I am essentially in the same boat as them. I like to speak to them like we’re on the same playing field (because we are) and the conversation is more of exchange of experiences and advice to one another.
There is so much give and take when talking to post secondary students. Even though I’m there to help them, many of the students I’ve met have helped me down the road. A number of them have become a part of my network as friends or colleagues and I’m so grateful to be able to connect with such amazing individuals. Mollie Brown and Olivia Jordan Lewis are two incredibly talented people, among the many, I got to meet through speaking at Sheridan guest speaker panels. Check them out!
Mollie is such a Jill-of-all-trades. from broadcast to social media, she’s one to follow. The content she creates for Pangea Dreams will leave you in awe, and the photos from her travels will make you want to pack your bags right away.
Olivia Jordan Lewis: Fashion Blogger + Journalist
Olivia’s fashion blog, is so wicked and her socials are dope. The events she gets to go to will make you enviously happy for her! From being a Shop Square One influencer, to covering New York Fashion Week, this girl’s got the fashion game covered.
High School Students
Speaking to high school students was a scary thought to me because well, times have changed since I was in high school! I didn’t know if I’d be able to connect with them the same way I do with college and university kids.
One of my high school teachers/coaches asked me to come speak to one of her students, Rebecca Tandon, who reminded her of me. We had a lot of the same interests, our personalities were similar, and she wanted to get into the same career field. This made my first experience talking to a high school student much easier.
What made it worth while, was the fact that whatever I said resonated with her so much that it guided her to make the decisions she did for post secondary. She took my advice and ran with it. She’s doing so well for herself, not because of me but because she’s awesome. I’m just glad I was able to have some kind of impact on her life and I couldn’t be more proud to call her one of my friends!
Recently, a friend I went to high school with asked me to come into her careers classroom to speak to her students about what I do. At first I was a bit nervous because I had never spoken to a high school class before, but I was also so excited. I absolutely loved high school, but there were things I wish I knew at that age regarding my future. I was excited to be able to share with these young students that:
university isn’t the ONLY option after high school
it’s okay to take a year off to figure out what you want to do, there’s no rush
their goals may change after high school
everyone’s definition of success is different, and that’s okay
With high school students, my biggest take away is that I’m there to help prepare them in some kind of way by sharing my experience and advice. Though, I learned so much from them too. It made me so happy to learn that their generation is growing up in a age where self love and happiness are important to them, over anything monetary or materialistic.
The most important thing I’ve learned from speaking to students of any age is that you have to be engaging. Wether it’s through a game, activity, or just your personality. Nobody wants a robot, human to human connection is just something you can’t beat.
I love being able to impact students, and I love the impact they have on me. It’s one of my goals to continue speaking to them about careers and life!