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What I learned while covering Mac sports Reflecting on what I learned in my final year at the Silhouette and McMaster, and how I was able to figure out what’s next

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Photos by Catherine Goce

This time last year, I was contemplating what my future in the sports industry would look like. I had just wrapped up my first year as the Silhouette’s sports reporter and though I gained a ton of valuable skills and experiences, I was really unsure if I wanted to continue as a sports writer.

Though despite my doubts, I saw the doors that opened for me through this job and I decided to give it another shot in my final year.

I took on this role because I knew that if I wanted to find a job in the sports industry, everything that I did outside the classroom would matter the most. Being a multimedia and communications student at McMaster has taught me a lot of the skills I need, but the practical aspects of the sports industry one can get at programs at Ryerson University or Brock University are not offered here.

So along with writing for The Silhouette I took on four major sports-related extracurriculars. From running women’s football on campus, to helping the men’s basketball team figure out their social media presence, I tried to get as much experience as I could.

This, along with my previous internship experience, allowed me to figure out what exactly I had a passion for. I knew that I could write, I had two articles every week for the last two years to prove it, but I also knew that it was not something I was passionate enough about.

Running women’s football gave me a chance to work out my organizational and operational skills. A major part of the sports industry is game operations. Although it is a bit different to what I am used to as a comms and media student, I have always had an interest in planning and carrying out projects.

This role had me overseeing over 150 students, both student-coaches and players, and organizing tournaments; it was no easy task. In my frustration I quickly came to realize although I once had an interest in sports operation, it was not something I envisioned myself doing long-term.

It was not until I was working with the McMaster men’s basketball team creating creative content that I discovered what I was truly passionate about. It combined the media skills I learned in class, my personal interests and my sports media knowledge.

Giving a team who struggled on the court an online presence that did not just reflect their losses was a fun challenge. We immediately saw the positive feedback in an increase in followers and activity.

Now that I figured out my passion, it all began to seem so simple. Apply to social media positions for different sport teams in organizations? I can do that no problem. Although it was not enough.

Part of looking for a job, especially in the sports industry, is through networking. This is something I have always struggled with, so it was something I challenged myself to do this year. I first met with Camille Wallace, digital media specialist for Team Canada, who reminded me how my job as sports reporter already helps me to build these networks.

As I had started the year before, I continued to interview alumni who work in the sports industry and found a mentor in Vanessa Matyas, Marketing and Media Manager at NFL Canada.

 

Through her advice and help, I have been able to fix up the resume I used to see no flaws in, and even land myself my first dream job interview. Unfortunately for me, due to still being in school, I was unable to move forward in the interview process.

But with positive interview feedback under my belt, I am now ready to take on the job search by storm. I know it will not be easy, but I have been, and I am ready to work hard and use what I learned while at Mac in and out the classroom.

When I look back at the beginning of my journey four years ago, I never would have thought that I would be here today. Although I do not have it all completely figured out, leaving Mac with a sense of what my purpose is something I am grateful for.

As senior year comes to an end, I am extremely grateful that despite my doubts, I gave writing with the Sil another chance. Even though there were many times I felt like I was in over my head, I could not have imagined my senior year any other way.

 

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Author: Jessica Carmichael

Sharing the same birthday but not the same salary as Houston Rockets' Chris Paul, Jessica spends most of her days not practicing her free throw. In addition to studying communications and media, Jessica dedicates the majority of her time to flag football and watching an endless amount of sports documentaries. Looking for her own Last Chance U pet project, Jessica is committed to covering sports beyond the box score and faceless stats.