In 2018, the universe served me a silver platter. On that platter was a plot diagram for me, revealing how I would achieve future successes, break out of my bubble, and start my career on the strongest path.
The most important part of this journey was how the inciting incident of earning the Lead Copy Writer position led to other opportunities: Marketing Writer with Saba Software, Contest Manager and Judge for the Write the Journey Contest in support of Black History Month, and Project Manager for the Interdisciplinary Flow Initiative.
This is how I got there:
It was during the beginning of my second year at Sheridan in the Creative Writing and Publishing program that I heard of a project named Mobilizing Social Innovation to Train the Next Generation of Theatre Entrepreneurs (the TENT project for short). This project, run by some geniuses in the School of Humanities & Creativity at Sheridan and the Toronto Fringe Festival, was looking for a Lead Copy Writer.
I thought this was quite fitting for me, after all, I had just done multiple courses in writing and editing, and I was continuing to do so. I said to myself, “I could do a pretty good job at that! I’ll give it a try, worst case, I get more interview experience!”
Like the responsible adult that I was, I did my research on the Toronto Fringe Festival and TENT (the summer workshops that they run) because I had no clue what they were about. I went into my interview with some knowledge trying to impress Professor Brandon McFarlane, the Project Director. Then I realized, unlike the movies where these plot diagrams live, my interviewer was not terrifyingly, stress-inducing, he was super friendly and determined to give students successes and opportunities.
Maybe it was the limited research I had done but I got the position! Exciting, right? And I was so ready to put my writing and editing skills to work and learn more along the way – which as you’ll see, I did. Without this position, my career would never be quite the same, and it was this role with TENT, that changed the course of my career for the better.
Lead Copy Writer. Sounds important, doesn’t it? I like the way it gives me a sense of purpose and responsibility, something I’d never quite experienced in the business world. I’m definitely lucky; many students struggle to get and keep a job related to their field or program, but I got one that has consistently opened up new opportunities for me.
On my way up to feeling accomplished and successful in this position, I did many things. I met lots of people who were just as interested in my success as I was. McFarlane was a constant advocate for student success and worked face-to-face with me to make that happen. It’s like everyone I was working with as part of this project were leaning on each other so we could continuously build a larger, more stable, taller tower that reached up to higher achievements and accomplishments. I even made friendly relationships with others in my program who were also on the team. It was a new environment for us to connect and achieve together. This was a team like I had never experienced before, committed to growth, community, novelty, and learning. There was even a time we brought in costumes and props and did a photoshoot together. I now have a picture of myself in a dog’s bee costume!
It was because of this team that I felt confident enough to explore my creativity, let myself fail (which is important in a workplace environment) and learn from it. I was scared to try new things in my writing fearing that it wouldn’t be what we were looking for, or that it wouldn’t be taken seriously. But I was encouraged to move forward with it. Even if it wasn’t what we wanted, it could still be used for something else. There were lots of editing sessions but in the end, we ended up with blog posts that had my own voice in them and that were unique to any other! I found new parts of myself. I wasn’t so introverted, and I could reach out and create new things with others in my team.
These experiences helped me develop my skills and I became more appealing to other businesses and hiring managers.
One position branched out and gave me all these others. Isn’t that amazing? This is the climax because like a firework, one rocket blew up and exploded into all these other firecrackers.
There were difficult times where I was juggling three jobs at once (student life?) but I loved it. I felt successful, purposeful, significant, and not only was I doing things that I loved, but I truly felt like I was making a difference and putting my best self out there.
I have developed many essential qualities of a successful person: time management, initiative, responsibility, integrity, collaboration, discipline, and communication.
After entering into the artistic/business world of the TENT project, my successes have multiplied exponentially. Now I’m waiting and working towards my next milestone that I know I can reach because of the foundation I’ve built through the TENT Project and with the supportive friends I made along the way.
What I learned along this journey is a universal lesson: whether or not you feel prepared for your next step, take it. You have no idea what kinds of opportunities await you and you’ll have no idea if you don’t take a chance, and try something new!