When one begins their journey following university studies, the question that most will ask themselves is “am I prepared for the real world?” In most cases there will be trials and tribulations along the way before finding one’s path.
For some, an opportunity may come up faster than expected. Such was the case for MacEwan communications graduate Breanna Kitchen, who started an internship at Explore Edmonton following the completion of classes in the spring of 2023. “After classes were done, I got an internship at Explore Edmonton as a communications and event coordinator, which is crazy, because that’s exactly what I did for my practicum. ”She worked on events such as K-Days, throughout the summer, before getting hired as a full-time employee.
Others, on the other hand, must grind their way through the job market until they get that opportunity they were waiting for. Julia Magsombol, a MacEwan journalism graduate, experienced that firsthand following her graduation. “Well, I was unemployed for months, because it was really tough to get in there. I applied to a lot of publications. My internship, Edify, helped me figure out that… I want to work in this kind of job where I would talk to the people and write their stories, in their communities.” Following an extensive search, Magsombol found her calling at the Columbia Valley Pioneer in Invermere, British Columbia, as the local journalist working in underserved communities.
Although both Kitchen and Magsombol had two different experiences finding a job, they agree that the training they received throughout their years at MacEwan helped them immensely in their field of work, especially as a result of the required internship. For Kitchen, who completed her internship at MacEwan as part of a team organising a student networking event, Reach for the Stars. This internship helped her develop skills that she might not have otherwise learned in the classroom. “Definitely a lot of external communication skills because I did a lot of invites and coordinate everybody. So just reaching out and talking to professionals; that was a great skill I learned.” Magsombol also felt the impact her internship at Edify had on her as a journalism student; “I think writing stories in the journalism world is really different compared to school because when you talk to people, you have to be more accurate because it’s actually coming out to the people to read so there’s more work than in university.”
Magsombol and Kitchen felt that the inclusion of the internship as part of their degree was worth its weight in gold. Kitchen explained that, for her, the inclusion of hands-on experience was extremely valuable and has helped her immensely in her job with Explore Edmonton, “All the classes are great, and they give you skills and you learn a lot, but I think hands on experience is important. Event planning is definitely not a part of the curriculum.” Magsombol added that it gave her insight into what the daily grind of a journalist would be like, “I think I experienced, like having that kind of work ideal and that helped me to actually know what I wanted in the future.” Magsombol also believes that the inclusion of a practicum as part of the degree is very important. “I think that it’s really important, because I think that it really taught me what the real news was compared to university because I just wrote for the Griff at the university, which is still good, but I think it (the practicum) really helped me a lot.”
Both Magsombol and Kitchen have now been working at their respective jobs for over three months and have had many different experiences along the way. Currently, both are working on their own interesting project. For Kitchen her next project is just around the corner, “After K-Days there was a kind of a lull, but we are picking up again because the next event that I’m working on is coming up in two weeks. It’s for the Edmonton Pro Rodeo. It’s another reception for government officials. It’s kind of like the K-Days one but this one’s going to be Western themed.” As for Magsombol, who does a lot of stories about the Indigenous community in Invermere, she is working on a story for Truth and Reconciliation Day.
It’s been less than a year since they graduated, and both still hold fond memories of their time at MacEwan University. “I think, personally, it was really good. It was kind of difficult in my first year because I never really knew anyone, but I think once I reached my senior year, I met a lot of people, especially in the TV studio… and yeah, it was such a good experience,” Magsombol explained. “Overall, I’d say it was a very positive experience. I feel I gained a lot of valuable knowledge and skills from my different classes that I was in. I’d just say overall it was a very positive experience. I made a lot of friends and had good times,” Kitchen said. Both Kitchen and Magsombol plan to continue to contribute to their communities as a communication professional and journalist.