By Lauren | September 2, 2014 | 0 Comment
I graduated from the Sheridan College 3-year Advertising program in 2011, and I’ve seen several people after me go through the same program, with the same questions, and the same concerns. I thought I’d write these 10 tips of advice to help you with your first year of advertising (or 2nd or 3rd). These tips aren’t just for Sheridan Advertising students and can probably be helpful to other programs as well.
1. The 2-year or 3-year battle
If you are still debating on whether or not to go into the 3 year program, or graduate after 2 years, choose the 3 year. The stuff you learn in third year is not comparable to anything you learned in first and second. The bulk of the what I learned to prepare me for a career came from 3rd year, the stuff I learned in 1st and 2nd were just building blocks. Look at it as if you had the choice of going away to college after grade 11, or staying for grade 12 – what option would better prepare you for what came next?
The most dreaded classes (for most) in advertising is media. Let’s face it, majority of students didn’t go into advertising because they were great at numbers. Usually right off the bat you have an idea if media is something you want to pursue as a career or not. How can you survive? Find a media wizard in your class (there’s always a few), and stick with them through all your group projects. It’ll be your savior. (P.S. probably about 90% of my graduating class ended up in media, even though they hated it in school. It’s a lot different in the real world.)
3. Learn to work in groups
If you only like working independently then you might as well quit now. You NEED to learn to work in groups if you plan on surviving this program. It’s not always going to be easy, and sometimes you’ll want to punch your group members in the face, but the most valuable lesson I learned from this program was how to work in groups with all sorts of different personalities. Let’s face it – you will be working in groups and teams for the rest of your life, get used to it now!
4. Make friends with the teachers
I don’t mean be a suck up, but network with your profs, and stop looking at teachers as some sort of alien like you do in public school. Your teachers can be valuable mentors, connections, and even maybe help you land a job when you graduate or down the road. Build and foster those relationships.
5. Take time to learn what you like
The beauty of the Sheridan College advertising program is that you get a little taste of all aspects in advertising. Use this as a time to learn about each area, and discover the area you like best! Embrace the fact that this may change throughout your 2-3 years.
Don’t miss out on the chance to get involved throughout your time in advertising. There are so many great opportunities available for students and they look great on your resume. Get a part-time job (there will be spare time), join a club or association, volunteer at events that teachers recommend, or attend conferences while you get a student discount!
7. Build your portfolio
Treat every project as if it were to go into your portfolio to help you find a job. You’re going to need some projects to showcase when finding a job, and you don’t want to be that person that isn’t proud of any of the work you did.
Some of the projects you worked on are MASSIVE, and sometimes you don’t realize how big they are until you go to start them the night before. Try your best to set timelines for yourself, and/or your team. You’ll be thankful for all the extra time you’ll have when classmates are pulling all-nighters in the learning commons.
9. Realize grades aren’t everything
Believe it or not, grades aren’t everything anymore. Yes you want to pass, and do well, but don’t focus all your attention on getting 100% on everything you do. Why? Because employers aren’t going to care if you graduated as a C student or a A+ student, they want to see you have a good grasp and understanding of the industry. Take time to learn, get involved, attend industry events, anything you can do to grow your knowledge about the industry you’re about to pursue.
I still remember my first presentation in Advertising it was in our Business Communications class. I stayed up all night practicing in front of the mirror, and made cue cards so I could remember what I was even presenting on. By third year I could go up in front of the class and present on just about anything without a single piece of paper in front of me. Embrace the fact that you’re going to have to overcome this fear, because it’s a huge part of this program.
Most importantly, enjoy your three years at Sheridan, they will fly by in a blink of an eye!
Have tips to add or questions? Leave me a comment!