I spent this past weekend in Kingston, specifically back at my alma mater, speaking at the Queen’s Media & Journalism Conference about my career in digital communications & life as a blogger. Although this wasn’t my first time as a guest speaker, it was my first time back to Queen’s in three years. In a way, it was like nothing had changed: campus looked pretty much the same + I didn’t drive the wrong way down any of Kingston’s many one-way streets. On the other hand, everything had changed. Familiar faces on campus were few and instead of sitting in a lecture I was giving one.
That’s pure joy you’re seeing right up there. There’s nothing like coming back to campus, especially as a Queen’s alum. Even my road trip buddy, fellow speaker and Queen’s/Humber PR alum Stella Lee, was shocked at the level of giddiness I displayed throughout the weekend. What can I say…tricolour gets me going. I couldn’t resist visiting my old stomping grounds while we were in Kingston – here’s my old house on 291 Collingwood
Yup, still displaying unnatural levels of glee.
The conference wasn’t around when Stella & I were students at Queen’s, but I really wish it was. I might have realized sooner rather than later that a career in digital communications was the way to to, rather than focusing so much on going to law school. On Saturday, I gave a workshop on digital communications, community management and blogging that was attended by extremely attentive and inquisitive Queen’s undergrads.
The room filled up more after I took the photo, promise.
I spoke about my career path, from realizing I wanted to be in PR instead of going to law school to choosing the wrong fork in the road after Humber PR graduation to networking my way to a job at BBDO Proximity…with a sprinkling of what agency life is like and basic how-tos for online personal branding and blogging. I also tackled the age old mystery: what exactly does a community manager do?!
More than you thought, isn’t it? The students were agape at both the breadth of clients and variety of work I have – apparently in a good way, since I’ve received quite a few tweets + emails since about potential summer internships here at Prox. While most guest speaking gigs that culminate in “do you have any questions?…” result in the speaker hearing crickets, I’ve never had so many questions. Colour me impressed.
Along with the workshop, I also participated in a new media panel moderated by one of my favourite university professors, Jonathan Rose. Questions up for debate ran the gamut from ethics & legalities in blogging and digital media to monetization and the future of digital/social. Team New Media included (L-R) Megan McChesney, executive editor & senior web producer at St. Joseph’s Media; Josh Bowman, fundraising director for CAPE and freelance blogger for Huffington Post; and Stella Lee, digital communications coordinator at Springfree Trampolines.
After the panel, we went to the QP…because that’s what you do when you’re at Queen’s.
Apparently it was possible for me to get even happier at this point.
Speaking at Queen’s was an incredible experience I won’t soon forget. Along with being able to chat to current students about their career options and ignite their passion in digital, I also learned a ton from the other speakers. Cheesy as it sounds, it’s so fantastic to be around likeminded people who are on a similar path but who aren’t doing the exact same thing as you. I loved the opportunity to connect with the other speakers over dinner and throughout the conference the next day. Congratulations to the executive team of the Queen’s Media & Journalism Conference and thank you so much for having me.
If you want to check out tweets from the Queen’s Media & Journalism Conference speakers, Stella Lee put together this Twitter list.
To see tweets from the weekend, check out this Storify.