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.

NFL Canada’s Marketing & Media Manager Vanessa Matyas on her journey from McMaster to her dream job, and how hard work and perseverance led her there. https://t.co/TiBu0xd8kq pic.twitter.com/Ln8gt6wVRd

— The Silhouette (@theSilhouette) March 11, 2019

 

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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Photos C/O Katie Benfey

Kyanite crystal allows the creation of new pathways and the opening of one’s mind to new positive possibilities. Lauren Campbell was wearing kyanite when the idea for a bright, quirky store with crystals, tarot cards and other magical items came to her. The name for the store, Witch’s Fix, also came to her in that moment.

At the time, Campbell was working a full-time job in Toronto and wasn’t entirely happy being a commuter and working a nine to five job. She couldn’t get the idea of Witch’s Fix out of her head, so she decided to quit her job and try to make her dream a reality.

On Feb. 26, 2018, Campbell opened an Etsy store and began to sell spell kits and mugs. Throughout the year, she attended craft markets and hosted candle rolling workshops. Exactly a year after her online store opened, her dream of a physical store came to life. The store is located in the historic Treble Hall, which Campbell had had her eye on for some time.

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“Before I even had the Witch's Fix, I'd drive by this space in Treble Hall and I would look at it and… say ‘if I ever have a store, I want to be there because it's so cute’… And one day I was on Kijiji… I saw this space [and] I was just like oh my God… that's my dream space… I'm going to do it,” Campbell said.

“I'm going to take the plunge, take a huge risk and do it because this was the space that I always wanted. It was going to be here or it was going to be nowhere,” she added.

The store is a realization of Campbell’s vision. The storefront is welcoming, with the glass walls serving as a window to an enchanted world. Inside, the shop is charming and cozy with Victorian elements and the feel of a library mixed with a traditional witch’s shop. A playlist of hot jazz, saxophone-containing music and songs from Campbell’s favourite magical movies adds to the ambience of the store and makes it feel as if it is in another place and time.

The store sells a variety of gifts and enchanting items, several of which the crafty shopkeeper makes herself. She makes Abracajava mugs and candles and puts together mystery bags, spell kits and crystal kits. As for the items that she doesn’t make herself, like the tarot cards and zines, she tries to source from independent makers, especially those who are female and female-identifying.

She wants the products to be mostly those that cannot be found in big box stores. While they may be a little more expensive than similar products in other places, her customers know that they are supporting creative entrepreneurs. In the future, Campbell also hopes to rent out the parlour at the back of her store to individuals who do readings to make this type of magic more accessible to the community.

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Honestly when people come in the store, I really just want them to feel inspired… [I]inspiration and creativity are such huge parts of magic for me. So I hope people come in and feel like they can be curious… ,” said Campbell.

“I want to awaken a childish enthusiasm in them that makes them remember when they were a little kid and anything seemed possible, [when] they just looked at everything with wide eyes and believed in magic,” she added.

Campbell has been drawn to magic and magical items since she was a kid. As she grew older, magic became more about having a connection to nature. Campbell understands that the store might not be for everyone, but she wants it to be approachable. Having experienced the benefit of everyday magic in her life, she wants to bring a little magic to everyone else’s life too.  

Campbell put the word witch in the title of her store to help change the perception of the word. She wants to do away with the idea of long fingernails and cackling laughs and replace it with the idea of magic as ownership of one’s human nature and connection to the world around us.

I mean there are so many days where it seems like there is no magic in the world and being able to spot it in the tiniest things… [it] makes my mental health better. It can be as simple as just birds on somebody's front lawn hopping and chirping, like that is magical to me… It's just really about finding things that make me smile and are really accessible,” Campbell said.

Once the dust settles a little more, Campbell will plan a grand opening celebration to mark the fruition of this vision. In the meantime, she looks forward to watching the store grow. With the warm responses that she has received thus far the online and Hamilton community, Witch’s Fix should continue to grow and become the store for all-things sorcery and magic downtown.

 

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