Compare and Contrast, University to College

mohawk fennell campus“It’s no big deal.” I told myself walking down the stairs in iWing on my first day of college.

“You’ve done this before.”  This was my second post-secondary experience, and I was prepared for whatever the Public Relations Post-Graduate program had to offer.  As I was to find out, many of my classmates were in the same boat. Over half of my class are university graduates who’ve decided to attend Mohawk to create a definite path for their future.

After five years at McMaster, and then one year working in a call centre, I was so ready to start learning some practical skills and working on starting a career. I figured that it would be a breeze. I’d gotten decent marks in University. I had spent sleepless nights writing papers about masculinity, hegemony, colonialism and other complicated stuff. I was wrong.

The most surprising thing was the volume of work. Filling out the agenda that I had gotten from the front desk in M-wing, I was floored about the amount of assignments due. I had NINE things due in one week. At Mac, if I had three papers due in a week, I would lock myself in my room and not come out until they were finished. I would survive on a steady diet of energy drinks and teriyaki and try desperately to focus on the massive amount of work  that I needed to finish.

When I started the work though, I found it was very different. It was case studies. It was short pieces about the things that I had learned in class. The best thing? I was interested.

I wanted to do these assignments. Some of them allowed me to be even more creative than I ever was in University. I had to write professionally, but for the first time in my post-secondary degree, I COULD USE COMMON LANGUAGE AND EVEN SOMETIMES SLANG WORDS. #Blessed.

I also found I had more hope. My degree is in English and History with a minor in Theatre and Film- and when I told people my credentials they immediately said, “ So, you’re going to be a teacher?” I also had people telling me that I would never find a good job. This frustrated me to no end.  I went to career-centric events at Mac and felt like I was not innovative enough, not smart enough, not creative enough. Many of the Humanities career events I attended told me that I should probably go on to get a masters, or to go to college. I was resistant. I didn’t want to have to get more education than I already had just to get a job.

Now, I feel more capable. I feel like I’m going to get a job. I feel like I’m talented enough, creative enough. Being in college has done wonders for my self-confidence. Filling out my LinkedIn profile in university was an exercise in futility. It asked me to outline my skills and I came up blank. I felt like I had no transferable skills. I had skills from working part-time and I had skills from volunteer positions, but from actually attending classes, writing papers, and talking about things…nope.

Even though I’ve only been in classes for less than two months, I have learned to work effectively in a group. I’ve learned to write a news release and product release. I’ve written more in this short time than I ever had in the first few weeks of a university semester- but I’ve not once felt like I was padding my work to get a word count. Almost everything I’ve written for my college classes has been direct and to the point.

In a few years, when I am an alumni with some work experience under my belt I will probably look back on my time at Mohawk fondly. I do appreciate having the opportunity to go to McMaster, and I believe that attending university shaped my belief and value systems. It has humbled me a bit too, knowing that I’m a little fish in a big pond. However, my time at college will have shaped me as a capable professional. When I walk across that stage next June, I will definitely be ready for the future.

laurakoops-sm– Laura Koops
Public Relations student
Follow Laura @Sothisismyname


Welcome to Laura as a guest blogger on the ABC:Alumni Blog Connection. Laura is working for the Alumni Office this semester, assisting with social media management and writing for various mediums.

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