Applying for Ryerson’s Radio and Television Arts program was one of the best decisions I ever made. I’ll admit it, although I told everyone else otherwise: Film Studies was my real first choice. Four years ago, my dream was to become a film editor and work in Vancouver or LA, and I thought I needed to get a film degree to make that dream happen. I didn’t get accepted into Film Studies, but I did get accepted into RTA.
Ryerson has since divided RTA into Media Production (this is the program I graduated from), New Media, and Sports Media, but I’ll be referring to it as RTA to make it easier.
I remember the day I got my RTA acceptance: I burst into my mom’s office sobbing uncontrollably and she thought something serious had happened. I’ve always been a bit dramatic, but I just couldn’t believe it. To my knowledge, RTA accepts 10% of applicants, so it was a pretty big deal.
I GOT INTO RADIO AND TELEVISION AT RYERSON
— jessica (@jessicailam) March 24, 2013
— jessica (@jessicailam) March 28, 2013
What exactly do you learn in RTA? You get a taste of everything. The curriculum changed the year after I was accepted and I’m not sure what it’s like now, but in first year we learned everything from single and multi-camera production to writing for media to audio production. We basically got to dabble in a little bit of everything in media, and it allowed us to discover our passions and our talents which we could further pursue in courses in the years following.
I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my program over the last four years, and I documented it in this post.
One of the requirements of RTA was to complete an English minor, which was nothing like high school English. English had always been one of my favourite subjects, and I’d even graduated with the English award at my high school graduation. I really disliked taking English courses in university – they were difficult and I didn’t get very good marks. They’ve since removed the requirement of an English minor, which I think is great.
RTA offers an endless list of courses, but a lot of them don’t end up being taught, so you’re forced to pick whatever’s available. I was more interested in learning about animation and special effects so I could broaden my knowledge about post-production and editing, but I ended up taking courses like marketing for media professionals or writing for animation because they were the best options out of the courses being offered.
I met so many talented people within RTA who have inspired me and continue to inspire me. I know some of them are going to do great things, and I can’t wait to see. I met one of my best friends, Shay, and we’ve learned so much about media and the world together.
Thanks to RTA, I had the opportunity to pursue a variety of internships and jobs related to media. I’ve interned and worked at Narcity, Indie88, PureGrainAudio, Sony Music Canada, and more. I’ve volunteered at the Toronto International Film Festival and for Women in Film and Television. There were also many cool opportunities within the program and Ryerson. I hosted an internet radio show at RTA’s radio station, SpiritLive, for six semesters with Shay, and I also volunteered as a blogger for RU Student Life, which set the stage for my online writing career.
During my time at Ryerson, I never felt like my gender or my race was a milestone, and I feel like it’s because of the open mindedness of the media industry here in Toronto. In second year, I interned with a guy who was in fourth year RTA, and we both had the exact same position. At another one of my internships, the entire intern team in our department was female.
I’m really glad I didn’t get into the Film Studies program, because if I had, I probably would’ve chosen that over RTA. In addition to my English minor, I completed a Film Studies minor, and the courses weren’t very enjoyable for me. I met some people in those classes, and the things they told me made me glad I was in RTA.
I love absolutely everything about media, and Ryerson has provided me with a foundation of knowledge and experience that I plan to build on for the rest of my life. I’m so excited to have graduated with distinction, and I’m very proud to be an alumni of Ryerson RTA. Thank you so much for being a part of my life, Ryerson.