When You Get Here You Understand

When I was in high school, I thought that my "perfect career" would reveal itself miraculously, like through some sort of psychic vision or dream and I would wake up with the answers to the rest of my life.  Not surprisingly, graduation came around sooner than ever and in the summer of 2016 I was still completely at a loss with what I wanted to do. Now, I'm 20 and I still don't know, but the path ahead seems more like an awaiting adventure rather than a scary, confusing maze where every decision you make permanently impacts the rest of your life.

Knowing it was unrealistic to wait around for a safe "guaranteed-to-succeed" option, I started looking into colleges and universities, trying to find any program that sparked my interest and gave me that feeling of hope and wonder. Four-year degrees scared me because the idea of signing up for four more years of education (which seemed like an eternity to me at 18) felt like regret waiting to happen. I was terrified that two years in, I'd realize that it wasn't for me and I'd have wasted the last precious years of my teenage life.

Lo and behold, I came across the Media Studies and Professional Communication program on the Red Deer College website, and it piqued my interest immediately! It was the very first year of the program, and the classes were small with a broad curriculum that focused on marketing, communications, design, and everything in-between. I excitedly (and nervously) enrolled.

Despite still not having a clear plan, I hoped simply living the college experience and getting some credits under my belt would give me some sort of direction and at least award me with the feeling of accomplishing something. And I was right.

Now don't get me wrong, the diploma program wasn't a breeze and there were definitely times where trying to succeed at college was the most stressful, challenging, and exhausting thing I'd ever done. But it was also the most rewarding, fulfilling, and empowering thing I've accomplished in my life so far. I've learned so much in my two years here at RDC, but this is what I would tell anyone that feels like the overwhelmed "2016 version" of myself:

  1. Education is not a mistake, no matter what it is, no matter if you'll utilize it every day of your life or simply to beat your family members at Trivial Pursuit.
  2. The college experience is about much more than education. You learn how to have work-based relationships, handle responsibility and a varying workload while also balancing life outside of school, and you gain experience interacting in a semi-professional environment which leaves you more confident and prepared for a workplace setting.
  3. Even if the program you initially enroll in isn't what you want to do for the rest of your life, college is the place to find that out. Sign up for diverse classes. Explore avenues that you never knew about before. Through experience you'll find out what you hate and what you love and you can go forward from there!

The next phase of my adventure will take me to Edmonton, as I'm no longer afraid of the four-year degree. I have no idea where that decision will lead me but, in my opinion, that's the best part.

Jessica Laczo is excited to celebrate the successful completion of her studies at RDC on June 1, 2018. She will proudly join her peers as a member of the first graduating class of the Media Studies & Professional Communication diploma at RDC’s Convocation Ceremonies.   

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