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Explore Creative Careers with Torri Webster

Torri Webster
Torri Webster

Mediaplanet spoke with Torri Webster, social media influencer and graduate of Ryerson University’s Creative Industries program, about her undergraduate experience. You can hear more from Torri on her podcast PoddyTalk that has just recently been signed with Bell Media!

What are the most important lessons your program has taught you that you apply in your current work?

Torri Webster: One of the most important lessons I took away from my time at university was how to prioritize my work, and time manage. As a freelance creative, it can be hard for me to meet timelines and streamline my communication with all my clients. However, university taught me how to block out productive work periods in order to get all my work done on time, and I continue to practice that strategy into my career today.

A second lesson that was impactful was learning how to pitch, and present in class. My presentation skills have been invaluable in my career, as I always feel confident pitching to my clients, and sharing my voice in the boardroom. Of course, it can always be challenging to present, but using your time at university in big lecture rooms to hone that part of your craft will totally come in handy. I also believe this is relevant in every industry. Having a strong presence when speaking will always speak to one’s confidence.

Back-to-school can be an overwhelming time as students adjust to heavy workloads, new social environments, and academic pressures. As a student, what were your experiences and what strategies did you learn to keep your mental wellness a top priority?

Finding a sports team or a workout program can be incredibly helpful. This can, of course, be a great way to relieve stress, but it is also an awesome way to make new friends that may not be in your specific program. Getting into a routine to take time for yourself is so important (especially when the heavy workloads kick in). You’re allowed to be selfish and treat yourself sometimes.

Also, don’t compare your work to others, it can be very hard to be proud of your work if you’re constantly wondering what your friends or peers received on the same project. I really focused on doing my own personal best in each of my courses. Ultimately, in university, you’re only going to get out of it what you put into it.

With everything students have on the go, what are your best tips for time management?

Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, try to set aside 45-minute chunks of what I like to call ‘productive work time.’ This means, put that cell phone away, turn off the TV and sit at your desk or the library for 45-minutes and tackle your biggest project or essay first. By the end of the 45-minutes, you will not be done everything, but if you do this daily for a project that is due in a 2-week deadline you will have a finished (and not rushed through) the entire project.

Ultimately, procrastination can get you into a lot of trouble in university and it can be hard to climb out of that cycle if your work keeps piling up. With that, strategize each day to take a bit of productive work time so that you’re not pulling an all-nighter the day before the due date. Trust me, we have all been there. It sounds fun in theory, but I would love to save a new student the headache!

Torri Webster smiling and directing the photographer by holding their hand

As an influencer and someone with a strong presence on social media, how do you ignore negativity and harness your inner confidence?

I think we all have to put less value on our social media presences. The people judging your life do not know you personally or believe in your dreams. Focus on friends, family, and peers who understand where you want to go in life and use that positive energy as opposed to getting caught up in the highlight reel that is social media.

How did you find a group of friends in university who you felt shared your values and encouraged you to follow your passions?

I was very lucky and early on I found a group of girls who I really clicked with that were in my program. It’s really awesome to meet people in your program because ultimately you are passionate about the same area of learning and will naturally have things in common.

Also, a great way to find study partners! But, it is also important to put yourself out there, and to be kind to people! Everyone is nervous and everyone wants to make new friends in university, you’re definitely not alone.

So, say hi, and make the effort to get to know people. Your peers will end up working in your industry and could even end up being your colleague later in life, so make sure to treat everyone with respect.

How has your educational experience helped shape your career aspirations?

My education helped shape my career aspirations in a really huge way. I fell in love with the creative industries (both from an artistic perspective as well as a business one) and my program really allowed me to hone my skills in negotiation, pitching, writing, and finance. I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but my program gave me the tools to actually turn that notion into a successful business and strategy.

What advice would you tell your first-year self?

Have fun. Don’t take your grades so seriously, you will find your groove in the third and fourth year. The work will be hard, but your future self will thank you for your dedication to thorough and thoughtful work. Make as many friends as possible, those people will be by your side at graduation and far beyond. Take risks, share your opinions, and enjoy the party! It’s all a part of the ride.

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