by: Karlo Galang
I took Business Administration, Advanced Diploma Marketing program at Sheridan College - I graduated in 2017. I chose marketing because it’s something I can translate into whatever I decide to do. I enjoyed studying it, and I figured that this is a great opportunity to see if I liked it even if I didn't end up going into the industry; it was a fun three years of studying. The transferable skills were the reason why I was drawn to it. I found that regardless of whatever venture I wanted to do I would have to bring it to the market somehow.
My experience at Sheridan involved a lot of self-discovery. It was a lot of figuring out what I was studying, trying to figure out who I was as a person and what I wanted to do in life. I was learning my own personal workflow. I found that talking to other people from a variety of different cultures and background helped provide insight into myself.
"The smartest decision I ever made was to not be star-struck by successful people."
People who are renowned or have some reputation behind them - someone who is coming in as a speaker or alumni. Someone who is there to share a piece of how they got to where they are, people look at them in awe like they’re on a different level. My greatest decision was not to approach them as if I was inferior, to not be scared to ask questions and simply introduce myself. I approached them choosing to be proud of what I’ve accomplished, and not to belittle my accomplishments.
That whole philosophy behind that, where I’m humbling myself and not being intimidated by others, gave me the confidence to network with the right people. This allowed me to get where I am right now.
Throughout college I was always looking for opportunities to grow and to develop my skills - I was constantly talking to people who were smarter than me, who had different skills than me, who have accomplished “x y z.” I was always able to take-away something from them that I could apply to myself. That opened up doors for me that wouldn’t have otherwise if I just sat at the back and didn’t approach anyone.
I was the SSU Events Coordinator for my entire tenure at Sheridan (3 years). That allowed me to meet so many different people and hear their stories. It also allowed me to work with a bunch of small business owners whose passions were what they were doing. My job also included my involvement with running concerts and bringing in people that have huge followings to the college, or people who have an online presence. Being able to approach them on the same level was really enlightening - to see that they're just like everyone else.
If I were to describe Student Union, it would be about having a positive impact on the community around you in order to create a positive space for yourself. That applies to not only the school but my work because going to Sheridan was like… no one really knew the benefits of Student Union when I first got there. no one really talked about extracurricular; no one really talked about a sense of community. A lot of students, a lot of my friends who I talked to earlier were taken back by it. There was no sense of community, but they left it at that and never really did anything about it. What Student Union allowed me to do was empower myself to do something that other students that wanted; which was to help build a sense of community, that sense of belonging, that college experience that everyone talks about… all those things which build character.
"I’m a firm believer that higher education not only develops your knowledge but develops you as a person."
There are different avenues you can explore in order to develop as a person, but I think that college provides you with a type of stress induced by situations you would never expect yourself in. Because you’re in an environment surrounded by different people from different places; a chaotic environment where everyone has different schedules and everyone trying to adjust to everyone else’s schedule. No one really knows where everyone is coming from, all you know is that you’re in the same class together. For some reason, this entire chaos comes together and just works. My job allowed me to focus on creating a positive community and bring people together. It was really cool to be able to benefit other students and their college experience and give them that sense of belonging.
Everything that I did for the Student Union was because of what I wanted my student experience to be like. As a student, I wanted to feel like I was a part of a community. As a student, I wanted there to be a comfortable, safe space for me to be able to speak my thoughts. I wanted a place where I could meet like-minded people and have open discussions, and also hang out with people I respect and who respected me. A place where I can enjoy my time with those types of people, and surround myself with those kinds of people.
It wasn’t like that when I first got to Sheridan, I felt like there lacked a sense of community. Instead of just feeling bad about that, I decided to take the matters into my own hands, and that’s what Student Union allowed me to do.
As a student, I woke up and I decided whether or not I wanted to go to school. You have that liberty to decide. It was liberating because I could choose to go to my lecture or not. It was my choice to catch up in however way, or keep up, or maybe I’m already ahead. But it’s my choice today because there was no pressure to do any of that. There’s no one watching you, you have your teachers, and your grades will suffer if you don’t go, but there are other means to catch up, and there are people who don’t go to class and still end up successful.
Versus when you have a job and have people holding you accountable, regardless of whether you’re self-employed, there are things you can’t avoid. As a student you can dodge around responsibilities, but when you start “adulting” you enter the “real world” you can take a sick day, but your work doesn’t go away.
I am now a Digital Marketing Campaign Manager for Candybox Marketing. My favourite things about working at Candybox is the company culture, the opportunity for growth and development, and the commitment to each other (from employer to employee). It’s possible that those factors aren’t what people take into consideration when looking for employment. People look at how much the salary is and company benefits - all of these monetary values - they forget the intrinsic stuff that makes it worthwhile to work there.
I love the people I work with. Candybox is such a positive, welcoming environment that promotes growth both at work and as a person. Whatever you’re struggling with, there’s someone there to help you out. Everyone has this mutual trust and respect. If you’re tasked with something, we expect that you complete that task with excellence – and if you need help with it, we trust that you will reach out and ask someone. That trust and respect for each other, makes it feel less like coming to work and more like coming home.
Regarding my next steps, I’m just going with the flow. I’ve gotten to this point with being proactive in all the different things that come my way - with how I want to develop as a person and how I want to develop my career but also reacting to all the different things that could happen on a day to day basis. I can’t say for certain that I want to do this for the next million years of my life, but I can say for certain that my next steps will continue to be here at Candybox. I will continue to grow myself as a person and constantly learn. A lot of people think they’re done learning once they’ve started working, but that’s boring. Constantly learning new things and also looking for opportunities to pass on knowledge are my next steps. Essentially, giving others the same opportunity that others gave me.
The advice I would give to a graduating student or any student at Sheridan College is to not listen to anyone else. Understand the skills that you’ve developed, outside of what your resume says, understand yourself, and what skills you want to develop. Understand what skills you want to bring to the table for any employer and don’t close the door on any opportunities. I know a lot of people who graduated and immediately blamed the economy for the fact that they can’t get a job. If you listen to all those people and you succumb to all those negative pressures, you aren’t going to find a job.
There are people attending post-secondary because that’s the path that’s socially acceptable – you finish high school, then you go to post-secondary, and then you get a job. I find that some people are only there with one goal in mind and they want to do it as quickly as possible; they want to get in and get out.
"But you have to take the time to enjoy that experience because these are the good old days. Enjoy the process, and acknowledge that the process is a huge part of it rather than just aiming for an end goal."
I’m okay with struggling; knowing that at the end of it I’m going to accomplish “x y z.” You have to identify whether whatever you’re doing is worth what that end goal is.
Digital Marketing Campaign Manager