Wednesday, September 9, 2009
What I've done to prepare myself to get into school - 15 years later
Evaluator, mark thyself!
One of my duties here at Red River College - other than teaching and drinking my volume in Tim Hortons coffee - is to mark the essays potential students must write to get into Creative Communications.
(They do this in addition to writing a test, assembling a portfolio, and showing up in person for an interview.)
The essays are usually some combination of "your autobiography" and "what have I done to prepare myself to get into the Creative Communications program?"
It's a challenging essay to write, as anyone who has applied to get into the program knows, mostly because the candidate has to focus all of his or her experience into one coherent essay, and because the word "nothing" only takes up eight spaces on the page and isn't a very impressive answer.
I enjoy reading and marking these essays because they say a lot about the candidate: generally speaking, an essay that starts with "I was torn from my mother's womb at birth..." or contains the line, "I met my soul mate at age 12" is going to make for some interesting reading.
It's also interesting because I had to write the same essay to get into the Creative Communications program some 15 years ago. I had a little bit of experience - not a ton or even a metric tonne - a BA, and a dream.
I recently came across this essay in a folder, and laughed out loud when I found it. I kind of wish someone else would have found it, submitted it to me for marking, then surprised me by telling me it was mine after I gave it a C+.
No such luck. I probably would've figured out something was up when I saw the namechecks for Bob Newhart, Danny Kaye, and Dick Van Dyke...
What have I done to prepare myself to get into Creative Communications?
Over the last two years, since I graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Arts, I have thought about my skills and interests and tried to determine the field in which I might make the best use of them.
I believe that my experience in education and work, as well as my interests and personal qualities, would lend themselves well to the communications field.
I have been interested in writing since I was a child. At an early age, I was successful in school spelling contests and enjoyed having fun with words; I recall admiring Danny Kaye and the classic Court Jester routine, "the flagon with the dragon has the pellet with the poison, the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true."
When I was six, I published a story about my father in Canadian Lawyer magazine, for which I was paid $5.
My favorite classes in school involved creative thinking and writing. I read a lot and I admired TV shows like the Bob Newhart Show for their clever scripts. My parents remind me that one of my earliest ambitions was to be a comedy writer like the characters in the Dick Van Dyke Show.
In high school I was editor of the school paper, and I worked on layout and printing. I also enrolled in an elective broadcast course, where I wrote news scripts and read them on air.
At university, there were no courses in communications, so I chose courses in which I had an interest and I felt would improve my skills. I majored in English and minored in Philosophy. The English courses helped me to improve my writing skills through the numerous essays that I wrote, while the Philosophy courses taught me to think abstractly and how to debate a topic from different points of view.
I am now working at a bank. It's not the type of work I'd want to do for a lifetime, but the experience has been important in allowing me to develop skills that I think could be an asset in the communications field.
I am in charge of specialized investments, a position that has allowed me to work under high pressure, and in which accuracy and efficiency are essential. My daily use of a computer has given me a technical competence I didn't have before, and helped improve my keyboarding skills. I have also, in my day to day dealings with customers, gained confidence and an ability to deal with people from all walks of life in a professional manner.
My love of books and writing perhaps isn't surprising, given my family background. Although my grandparents attained no more than a grade eight education, they are avid readers.
I have always enjoyed great literature, and I continue to read the classics. I just read "Lucky Jim" by Kingsley Amis, and "Winesburg, Ohio" by Sherwood Anderson. I have added them to my ever-growing book collection, which includes movie scripts, plays, reference books, and collections of song lyrics.
I continue to write short stories for personal satisfaction, and keep in touch with pen pals and relatives by letter. I have recently been involved in writing film scripts with a friend I met while taking Film Studies at university.
I believe that the personal qualities I possess would be conducive to Creative Communications, and that one of my best qualities is my ability to work hard and achieve my goals. On my last annual job performance, for instance, I was rated as having exceeded the goals and performance expected of me.
I think that this is indicative of the fact that I consistently aim to do more than is required of me, and I have thus far managed to succeed in attaining my major goals.
I believe that I am creative and quick thinking, I have good people skills, and I enjoy learning new things. I wish I had more experience in writing than I have, but what I may lack in experience seems to me to be made up of my lifelong interest in the written word and my general enthusiasm for life.
I feel confident that I have what it takes to pursue a successful career in Creative Communications.
- C+. Cheers, Kenton