When you’re coming close to finishing high school, the expectation of knowing what career path you want to take can be overwhelming. With so many choices on offer, finding a path that genuinely nurtures your passion suddenly becomes a difficult task; one that can find you soul-searching or rushing into a decision shaded with regret.
For Monica Gan Wilcox, her career growth came to a standstill when she enrolled at an institution that failed to connect theory to real life experience. With a lack of industry connection, student community and opportunity to get hands-on in her degree, Monica began questioning how switching to Collarts could change her career outcomes. Leaving her old institution and now having completed her first Trimester at Collarts, we spoke to Monica about why Collarts’ community supports her passion and why changing degrees is to be embraced, not feared or shamed.
Hi Monica, thanks for chatting with me! Tell me a little bit about yourself and what you’re
passionate about doing for a career.
Coming out of high school, I really struggled to decide what it was I wanted to do as a career. I know growing up I was really into music and the entertainment industry, but I never thought about it as a career choice. I go to gigs almost every week and have had experience playing in bands and organising events. Taking a year off studying made me realise I should pursue what I’ve always been passionate in—music and events. Even though I’m mostly interested in event management, I like to keep my options open as the music and entertainment industry offers many different roles.
“I was already studying Entertainment Management at another institute, however, I was three weeks in and wasn’t enjoying it. I made the choice to instead study with Collarts.”
Leaving your old degree abruptly to study at Collarts, what drew you to study Entertainment Management?
What appealed me to study Entertainment Management are the many career outcomes. Working on tours, events, festivals and venue management are just a few things that I’m passionate about and would love to pursue as a career! I love that this degree focuses on a variety of aspects within the entertainment industries.
I was already studying Entertainment Management at another institute, however, I was three weeks in and wasn’t enjoying it. I made the choice to instead study with Collarts. Even though they offer the same degree, I think it’s important to look over course structures, course duration and what opportunities they offer as these things can really make or break your degree experience!
“I had only been at Collarts for five weeks and already I was offered the opportunity to apply for internships, volunteer at festivals and was invited to weekly events to network and meet other students! Being three weeks in at my old institution, I didn’t get offered any industry opportunities or events to socialise with other students.”
Getting hands-on experience is something you’re really drawn to. How has your time at
Collarts contrasted your old institute?
I had only been at Collarts for five weeks and already I was offered the opportunity to apply for internships, volunteer at festivals and was invited to weekly events to network and meet other students! Being three weeks in at my old institution, I didn’t get offered any industry opportunities or events to socialise with other students. This was one of the main reasons I decided to change institutions because getting hands-on experience is really important to me. It’s great for enhancing my skills and knowledge as well as to getting to know what it’s actually like to work in the industry!
“I love how Collarts have social events almost every week, it’s a great way to connect with other students in and out of your course. Being offered opportunities almost every week also helps me feel super connected to the community.”
I heard you recently worked at A Hitch To The Sticks Festival. What did your role involve,
how did this come about and what inspired you to put yourself out there?
Working at A Hitch to The Sticks Festival was such a fun and great learning experience! The lovely Industry & Experience Manager (Jade Ogden) emailed students offering the internship and I decided to apply straight away! Accepting every opportunity presented to me is really important so I can get the most out of being here at Collarts and studying this degree. Putting myself out there not only to get noticed and to network with current industry workers but to ensure I can gain as much experience as I can, even if I am only five weeks into the course! I think it’s great to learn earlier on!
My role involved arriving at various locations before the festival-goers to set up for the event and upcoming performance. This included the décor of a location such as banners, merchandise, lights and providing snacks and assistance for equipment set up with artists!
Although you’ve only completed one Trimester here at Collarts, do you feel connected to
Definitely! I love how Collarts have social events almost every week, it’s a great way to connect with other students in and out of your course. Being offered opportunities almost every week also helps me feel super connected to the community.
“I was on a train on the way to my old institute when I decided not to go to class and check out Collarts instead. It was really scary… change can be frightening but it is the only way you’ll find out what you really do and don’t enjoy!”
For those currently studying a degree that they don’t feel satisfied with, what advice would you give those considering change?
Definitely don’t be afraid to look at other degrees and universities. I think it’s really important that your degree feels right and that you’re satisfied – you shouldn’t have to wait around for things to ‘feel better’ in order for you to feel content within your studies. I was on a train on the way to my old institute when I decided not to go to class and check out Collarts instead. It was really scary, but I am glad I looked for other options because of the dissatisfaction I felt at my old institute. I was worried I would change institutions and that I’d feel the same. Change can be frightening but it is the only way you’ll find out what you really do and don’t enjoy!
And finally, what are you hoping to achieve during your time at Collarts and who inspires
you in the industry?
I hope to learn and experience as much as I can, accepting every opportunity to get the most out of this degree. I would love to work on more festival and events, apply for more internships and connect with other students. I wouldn’t say I have one inspiration in the industry that inspires me. What inspires me are the people behind amazing events like Falls Festival or the people who organise world tours for bands. The behind-the-scenes part of the industry that achieves the success that we all see is what I would love to be a part of.
Passionate about getting real experience out of your studies and becoming an expert in the industry? Check out our course in Entertainment Management or our other course that put industry experience and community first. Applications for 2018 are now open!