Last year on a whim (by on a whim I mean after a solid year of contemplation) I decided to pursue a post-graduate diploma in Public Relations, in Toronto. I’m here now, and I start school on Monday. Yeah. Also: hmmm, *contemplative stare, *chin rub, and *nod in recognition of a solid decision.
When I graduated from university and people still used dial-up internet, I laughed at my friends who searched frantically for jobs because I already knew I was moving to the other side of the world to work and play. I loved 95% of every second of the five years I spent in Japan. I met some amazing people who, despite the distance in time and geography, are some of the boldest, craziest, most fantastic, funniest and inspiring people I couldn’t imagine not knowing. And for that I wouldn’t change anything … except for one teeny tiny thing – I didn’t plan for was my eventual return.
I was never blessed with knowing what I wanted to do with my life from an early age. Actually, that’s a lie. Dr Grant Roberts (Danger Bay) was my childhood hero, and because of him I wanted to be a Marine Veterinarian/Biologist. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise that I hated Biology until high school so that was off the table. What I do know is that I failed to capitalise on my overseas experience and use it to forge any kind of rewarding career for myself (I know those exist by the way – rewarding careers. Many of my friends have them.) Five years ago spending my time wisely meant snowboarding every day. Hindsight, and all of that. I wasn’t without work for too long, but after a while I was immensely unsatisfied with my job. While I might lament the length of time it took me to get here, certain choices along the way facilitated the realisation of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I cannot say for certain that had I planned for it, 2009 me would have chosen this path at that time because I was an idiot and ignored my true skill set. Fortunately, I’m less of an idiot now. Had I ventured off into another direction, I’m confident that hypothetical future me would have eventually veered back onto the right path. A career path – I have one of those now. It might sound silly to read, it felt silly to type, but I actually know where I want to be in a years time, five years from now, and long term. There is something immensely satisfying in seeing this all eventually be realised one way or another.
I know where my strengths and passion lay. I love to organize and manage people, and events; communicate to and advocate for my community; absorb other people’s creativity through osmosis; and teamwork. If you read between the lines what I’m saying is that I love to complain because that’s what a lot of this work involves. However, like *childbirth, when all’s said and done, you forget the pain and experience a natural high off what you’ve managed to pull off. *I don’t have any children, but if women remembered that episiotomy, I doubt the global population would be currently in excess of 7 billion people by choice.
People tell me I’m brave for going back to school now, and to them I say “Thank you, child!” in an almost Maya Angelou-esque hushed tone. It’s not brave – it’s smart. The fact that I can study from communications and public relations professionals who put theory into practice daily excites me. I’m incredibly fortunate to have been granted this opportunity. I am still naïve enough to think that I can have a fulfilling and satisfying career, and the life I want. The already incredible amount of experience I have, coupled with this course that is about to take over my life for the better part of this year will only make me a smarter, more capable, communications professional. With all of the writing assignments I will have, I’m excited to see how my writing will change, for the better, undoubtedly. My only concern, which isn’t a real concern at all, is that I’ll be on average 10 years older than most of my classmates. With that in mind, I’m ready to fill my role as class matriarch and share stories of using a rotary phone after I explain what that is, what it was like when having an email account became a thing, and how when I was in university you chose between using the phone or internet.
I have some downtime before things get hairy in a few days so I need to use my time wisely. I’ve come to see myself as rather English and I’m appalled by the lack of tea kettle in my new temporary home, something I plan to rectify tomorrow. Also on my list: get a local number, and change the city on my online dating profiles so that I can ignore an even larger pool of men. But that’s a story for another time.
Ta for now.