Life lessons from a career in media


I had the good fortune to listen in on the Career Day session offered by SMUS alum, Susie Wall, last Wednesday. Officially, she was there to talk about her work in film, television, and print media; unofficially, she offered up life lessons that are applicable to anyone interested in any career. She learned these gems through her experience of being what she calls a “middle of the pack” kind of student who worked hard and played hard through high school and university, and figured out what she liked to do. She has successfully made her living in an industry that rewards connections, exposure, and persistence. Here’s my short list of Susie-isms,

  • One of the most important qualities to possess is “character”: it’s how you treat people when you don’t need anything from them.
  • Yes, you have to have passion, but, more importantly, you have to be good at what you want to do and believe you can do it.
  • Your mum isn’t going to bring your wallet to you if you forget it. Do things for yourself and learn to adjust and bounce back.
  • Be good to people (e.g. your fellow SMUS alums) and cultivate connections.
  • It’s OK not to excel academically: do your thing to the best of your ability. Middle of the pack is just fine.
  • Sometimes you have to work for free so that you can work for pay later. Don’t begrudge this.

Students asked some great and serious questions about the industry and personal values, but we also got to hear about Macklemore at the Grammy’s, Bieber’s issues, and Kanye’s fashion insecurity. I also liked that one of the things Susie highlighted about her experience at SMUS is that the School worked hard to help students figure out what they were good at, and point them in directions where they might find success. Guess I should stop googling Macklemore and get back to the business of helping students find their successful pathways.


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