Ambassadors

Jessica

  • InstituteMcMaster University (online)
  • ProgramMarketing
  • RegionEdmonton

It took me dropping out of university twice and a trip around the world to finally define my direction in life.

I was born and raised in Leduc and since I was a kid, I always knew I wanted to help people. For a long time, I just didn’t know what that would look like as a career.

In high school my mom took me to open houses at a few different schools to explore my options for after graduation. I also took some personality tests and, based on the results plus my passion for helping others, I was steered towards studying something like social work, psychology, or sociology.

I can’t remember if I felt passionate about my decision or if it just felt like the right thing to do at the time.  

In school I was an average achiever: I managed to balance getting good enough grades to please my parents, while also spending as little time at school as I could. I preferred to take my spares after lunch so I could go to work most of my afternoons. The only club I joined in high school was a humanitarian group. Other than this, I kept my weekends open so I could hang out with friends.

The reason I spent so much of my week working was because I knew I wanted to take a gap year and travel after graduation. And that’s exactly what I did; I saved my money and went off to Australia for 3 months.

The deal with my parents was that I could spend the year travelling until I ran out of money, but when September came I’d either be attending university or paying rent. Who wants to pay rent!?

The following September I enrolled at MacEwan University to study psychology. My stint there lasted two semesters before I decided to go travelling for three more months to Southeast Asia. Then I transferred to the University of Alberta for the following September, and stuck it out there for two and half semesters before an existential crisis sent me on another backpacking trip around the world. What I was studying wasn’t fulfilling me like I’d expected it to.

Fast forward almost 4 years and here I am! When I came home from my last travel adventure I landed a job at a non-profit helping at-risk youth. I feel like I somehow beat the system and was able to help others without having the whole post-secondary thing figured out. This feeling lasted approximately one year until I started exploring options to move up in the non-profit world; turns out I hadn’t beat the system like I previously thought. I needed to go back to school to achieve my next goals.

I’m now working towards a marketing diploma with hopes to still work for non-profits, but to focus more on supporting fundraising and events initiatives. I’ll earn this diploma by Spring 2019—then who knows what the future holds! I may search for an organization to work with or I’ve been considering pursuing a communications degree next.