Applying to university can be scary, stressful and exciting all at the same time. It wasn’t that long ago where I was in the position of applying to programs at Ryerson. Though I ended up choosing Journalism, one program I was interested in was Professional Communication, and I decided to get in touch with current student, Taelor Lewis-Joseph, when I was in high school. She gave me the inside scoop about the program, and shared what she wanted to do post grad. I recently interviewed her so that I could give those of you interested in the program all the insider information!
Tell us a little bit about yourself
“My name is Taelor, I am a fourth-year Professional Communications (ProCom) student. I’m also an actress, and am just starting to write/direct and produce. I’m a proud Scarbrough local, born here, but my family is from Grenada. I work for Zone Learning at Ryerson. I am accustomed to commuting – truly used to live on the TTC before the pandemic, I’m a Gemini/Taurus Cusp with a Virgo Moon. That’s me in a nutshell.”
What are three things all first-year students should know?
“The first thing is the fourth floor of the Student Learning Center, which is the academic accommodation services. When I discovered that, I was in my second-year and it was such a big help for me. Sometimes having extra time on tests or being in another environment taking those tests really helped. To know that, right off the bat in first year is important. Even the Student Learning Support (SLS) is great as it helps with papers, math and other skills.
The second thing all first-year students should know is that Ryerson is a welcoming place. There are so many different student groups and so many different ways to get involved, and you can make your own student groups as well. Getting involved is the quickest way to building a community.”
From the experience as a Professional Communication student Taelor said “the professors do not want to see you fail, it’s really important to establish a relationship with them if that’s responsible. Be responsible. If I know I’m not going to get something done then I will email my professor and ask for an extension. Be responsible and take ownership of the work you do, take ownership of your experience in university. Once you do those things other people will be able to help you achieve your goals.”
What is the Professional Communications program about?
“ProCom is about so many things, communication is so adaptable, communication in the fashion industry versus communication in the health industry, versus communication in the policy and government industry all look different but the connecting line is communication. It is being able to take something and regurgitate it in a way that is either more complicated or more digestible. That is done through theory and practice, communication is about translating for it appropriately for the intended audience or receiver.”
What is your favourite part about the program?
“I love the friends that I have made from the program, and I don’t think I would have been able to make those friends without the group projects. My favourite project that I have done was in my Countercultural Communication class (CMN 269), we had to think of an archaic way to communicate a message. For my project, I did a pigeon carrier talking to Doug Ford about sexual education and sexual health, the message inside was to update it but to do it in an archaic way and the pigeon carrier was one of the oldest ways to communicate a message. I had a lot of fun with that assignment! Another one is making video games as midterm assignments, which I’ve done a couple of times now. There are so many creative and alternative ways of communicating and putting theory into practice and video games are very unexpected.”
What are some of the opportunities that have come from being a Professional Communications student?
“In general, the program has made me more critical in the way I communicate. I was always passionate about film and tv, and the program helped me find a solid intersection. It also got me more interested in policy and administration. The thing that’s so random about the program is that one day I can say I want to plan an interactive event for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and the next I want to change the education policy in Ontario.
Also, I was a part of the Professional Communication Course Union (PCCU) for two years. I became a first-year representative, I learned a lot, I saw what I liked and what I didn’t like. I later became vice-president of the PCCU, and we had our first conference which had never been done before. We launched stickers and merchandise and had events happening every month, I remember getting a rush from being involved in student groups. There’s so much value in being a part of those communities, and also hosting events and seeing your attendees make friends and new connections. At the same time I was also doing Kaleidoscope and Ryerson Entertainment Conference (REC).
PCCU was a big part of my experience that lended to me becoming more resourceful, and being resourceful led to landing an internship with Taro PR, which is a public relations agency. I ended up working TIFF and being at the red carpet and walking near Constance Wu and Keke Palmer, which was a lot of fun.”
How would you describe Ryerson in two words?
“Welcoming and willing. Ryerson can do more and do better, but there are a lot of people doing their best to make the school more equitable and inclusive.”
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
“I am creating a docu web series called How T.O Art. It’s a mixture of how-to’s and interviews where our host Naja Stanford learns for example, how to draw a tattoo with Julia, a working tattoo artist from Scarbrough. Most of the artists identify as women and some identify as non-binary, and it is about how they “art”. All have different artistic backgrounds; they all have different relationships with their artistry and with Toronto. They all are doing different things, one is about an economics major at Ryerson, but is also a Philipino beauty queen and vocalist, another is an urban developer by day and drag king by night. You can check out more @howt.o.art on Instagram!”
That is a wrap on my interview with Taelor. I hope this gave you more information about what being a ProCom student at Ryerson is like. If ProCom is of interest to you be sure to follow their Instagram handles @ryersonprocom and @procomcu.
See you soon!