My love letter to Algonquin College

So, despite certain stereotypes that exist about college in relation to drinking, partying, and not learning anything, I have something to say. Since I realize some people may not know me or my background, I think that this is a great way to set the tone. We’ll start at the beginning…

Searching for a program to take at school is no easy task. How am I supposed to know at that moment in all my immaturity, who I want to be and what I want to do when I grow up? I remember sifting through pamphlets trying to decide which outcome will get me paid the most. That my friends, is not the way to go about it. You should really decide what you want to take based on your personality – what are your interests? What are your goals? What is your dream job?

Of course, at the tender age of 18 I had no idea what my personality was, all I knew is I wanted to be rich. Anyways, back to it. I knew I wanted to go to College… not University. At the time I thought it was because college would be easier, and I can maintain some kind of working life while I was there. So after I had ripped through all of the pamphlets & promises, I had narrowed it down to three.

  1. Public relations – This was my first pick because it meant dealing with people. It seemed like a flashy job that came down to nurturing and creating relationships with people. Plus, my mom had been in journalism as long as I can remember, so why not? Little did I know, I had to take a test that I would soon fail because, at the time, I knew absolutely nothing about the media. Go figure.
  2. Advertising – The world of advertising always seemed so “Hollywood” to me. Big job, nice car, big money. I knew absolutely nothing about the industry itself though, and my 18 year old self was far too lazy to write a letter to the college about why I thought I’d be a good pick for the program. At that point in my life, I cared nothing for exclusivity.
  3. Marketing – The funniest part about this choice, was I really didn’t want to end up in marketing. I had no idea what it was, but I picked it because I was told to pick three things. Marketing seemed like a combination of the two choices above, and it was only a 2 year program.
So there I was, not much choice… not much of a care at all to be honest. I was just going to school to go to school. I didn’t expect to learn anything, because of course, I already knew it all.
Luckily, I chose Algonquin College as my choice of collegiate toe-dipping.
My first year might not count. I was still an abrasive teenager. Mad at the world, and defensive as they come. I didn’t take my professors seriously, and cruised by as a C student. I still had my high school tendencies strongly in place, and cared more about what the clubs had to offer than the cafeteria.
Then came year two.
I was warned. The teachers told us that we had a huge “in-industry” project that snuck up on us in fourth semester. But, like everything else, I discounted it.
Then, I met Bill Garbarino. Now this may sound corny, but he is one of the smartest and most inspiring people I have ever met, and have since maintained a relationship with him. If anyone can teach you anything, it’s him.
I also managed to find a group of intelligent girls that I could partner up with for the more serious semester to come, and it had begun. The rest of my life…
The professors at Algonquin actually cared about me. Not because they were going to get paid more money, not because I could offer them something, not because I was a challenge, they just actually cared. They were my mentors, and they guided me through one of the most painful transitions of my life. They taught me work ethic, collaboration, business, marketing, and taught me that I could generally learn to connect with people who were smarter than I was (let’s face it, I thought I was pretty smart). They gave me the ability to look at my own work critically, and learn how to adapt to difficult situations. They taught me how to work, but really… they taught me how to teach.
We worked really hard that semester. Busted our butts until our laptops gave up, and until I had $700 in parking tickets from cheaping out and not buying a parking pass (lesson learned). I graduated as a straight A student, might I add. We learned how to be marketers. My client from my last semester’s notorious project, is and has been my employer since I graduated. People always say that they’re proud of me… but I wouldn’t be anywhere near who or where I am, without the professors and friends from Algonquin that have taught me so much.
To Bill, Noni Stukel, Valerie Hill, Jill Baker – You are my heroes, and will always be so much more than teachers to me.

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