When I was a student in high school deciding what field to pursue in post-secondary, I was faced with the tough decision of following my head or my heart. I was a strong student who was interested in science, but also a creative person and an avid reader of fashion magazines, so I was conflicted. In the end, I went with the more academic path and chose to complete a double major in Environmental Science and French Literature.
Thinking that I would end up working at for the government or an environmental non-profit organization, I thought I had everything figured out. Once I graduated, I even managed to find a job in my field after spending a year teaching abroad. However, fast forward six months into my first “adult job” and I remember dreading going to work every morning because I hated it so much. When I sat back and started reflecting on what it was that I was missing in my current position, I realized that I was feeling so trapped because my heart just wasn’t in it. Blame my Millennial upbringing, but I really felt that I needed to be in a job that did more than just pay my bills.
I ended up quitting that job and returning to a part-time sales position where I had worked in retail throughout my university days, and that’s when it hit me. I loved the fast pace, the way that no two days were exactly the same, and (maybe somewhat superficially) the stylish dress code that a career in the fashion industry could offer me.
I started looking up fashion programs in my area and found a one-year postgrad program that specialized in Fashion Management and Promotions. Because this program provided an introduction to every aspect of the industry that I wanted to learn more about, I immediately submit my application and hoped for the best. Two years after I graduated from university, this ended up being the best professional decision I ever made and has led me to where I am today.
I was introduced to all aspects of the fashion industry – everything from buying to marketing to visual merchandising – in the span of one jam-packed school year. I can definitely say that I gained all the foundations for a career in this challenging and competitive field, and had the opportunity to learn from some incredible industry professionals along the way. I also made some amazing connections, allowing me to grow my network as a young professional just beginning my fashion career.
Having recently graduated in April 2017, I know that I still have a long way to go before I can say that I’m fully satisfied with my career path. But I also know that I finally took a leap of faith by following my dreams, and I’m happier now than ever before.
Image Courtesy of Kate Mendonca
By Kate Mendonca, Toronto, @kate.mendonca