Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Journey Here and My Path Ahead

I have never been a very decisive person. I have changed potential careers like I have changed socks. Like most Canadian kids, growing up I wanted to play in the NHL but that fell through when I realized that pro hockey players aren’t scared to death of going into the corners. In high school I had no idea what I wanted to be. I had always been performed better in English and history, while struggling in math and science but had never actually put any thought into my future.
            By the tail end of my high school career I had decided I wanted to be a policeman. I was sure of it. I had interviewed cops, went on ride-alongs and had an idealistic urge to uphold justice. My first year in the police foundation program at Niagara College, I was surprised how much police forces focus on communication, both internal and with the general public. I began to love the focus on writing, speaking and articulating your language. While my desire to straddle that thin blue line waned and I once again changed my career path, my communication skills had greatly improved and I left college with a greater respect for the power of communication.

            After I completed my college diploma, I found myself at McMaster University studying politics of all things. I had never been a political person in high school or college but the police foundation program had given me a greater interest in the workings of government. It was there I found my real passion. I loved the writing involved in my major. I loved taking a position, sometimes controversial, and both defending my view and persuading others to change theirs.  I knew then that I wanted to affect change, and I wanted to be a part of the solution.
            After four years after graduation I found myself working retail and disillusioned. I was lost. Then at a recent family get together I had a chance to talk to my cousin. After graduating with a business degree from Queens, she had found herself in a similar situation. She decided to take the PR Certificate program at Humber and found herself working as an event planner for Labatt after graduation. She suggested that I take a look at a career in PR.  I was hesitant. I, like a lot of people, held the view that PR practitioners were “spin doctors”. That they made lies sound convincing and covered up the truth. I still wanted to get into the public service; I wanted to help people not lie to them. My cousin was quick to set the record straight and further research into the field corrected my misguided view.

            Now as Christmas approaches and first semester draws to a close I look back on what I have learned so far and I am amazed. PR is far more than what I believed. I have learned the difference between PR and advertising, how to write for the media and journalists and that not all publicity is good publicity. (Bill Cosby can sure attest to this sentiment) As I write this it dawns on me that I seem to have come full circle. Maybe I have not been as indecisive as I thought. I have always wanted to be a professional communicator in some form or another. The greatest tool of a law enforcement officer and a public servant is the ability to communicate effectively.  It is a skillset that I seem to have always been drawn to.
            I still have the desire to have an impact in my community and the ability to guide change in society and influence positive change. In my first semester at Mohawk I have learnt that I do not have to limit myself to the public service. As a certified PR Practitioner I can work for an organization that contracts with the government or one that lobbies for change in legislation. For once I don’t feel lost. I feel like I am on the path I belong.

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