Career Advice to my 16-Year-Old Self

When I was 16, I was a pretty shy girl - but I had big dreams. 

I'd say I knew exactly what I liked and what my interests were from a pretty early age. I always loved clothing, using my imagination and anything to do with creating things. I used to think I would be an artist or designer one day, but as social media became more and more popular (particularly Instagram) I realized that I had an odd passion for taking photos and posting them online. I had an audience of at least 2k by the 12th grade and after getting more and more into it, (starting a blog and being approached by companies) - I thought that the marketing side was more where I wanted to end up at.

When it came time to apply to Universities, I was dead set on going to Ryerson in Toronto. I did not want to go to College. I had good grades and I wanted those 4 years to really hone my skills and build my confidence. 

My dream program was Fashion Communications at Ryerson. I went to every open house with my mom and I studied the portfolio guidelines intensely. I woke up every morning thinking and worrying about how I would ever get into this program. I even reached out to other people online who had done the program or were currently in it. 

I was a quiet kid, but I was passionate on the inside. I knew exactly what I wanted and I even took a "year off" after graduating high school so that I could work on my portfolio and ensure that I get accepted to my dream school in Toronto.

The portfolio process was ridiculous. To get into this particular communications program, I not only had to write an essay and submit all of my grades - but I had to draw, paint and sew. I did not want to be a designer at this point, but I knew that part of the program was to do some sewing so that you can understand and appreciate the process of a garment. 

I finally completed the multi-part portfolio and felt good about what I did. I sealed it all up and mailed it to the fashion department at Ryerson and patiently waited for an answer. 

I had applied to another university as well for a broad communications program (not fashion related) and I was accepted. It didn't feel right though. Everything in me felt the need to go in a different direction. I wanted to live downtown Toronto and I wanted to work in fashion. There was no other option for me.

I would check Twitter every day. I would search keywords to see who was tweeting about the program and I would feel a sting every time I saw someone else accepted. I still hadn't heard anything. 

Months later, I opened up my portal to check on acceptances. There was a message there from Ryerson, but it wasn't what I wanted to see. I was waitlisted. 

There was no telling if I would be able to get off the waitlist at any point. There was a 75% increase in applicants during the year I had applied, and I'm sure everyone was very talented. Being waitlisted made me feel set back and very unsure of what could happen. I've always been someone who needs to know what's going on and I like to be in control. I was definitely not in control of this situation. 

With the help of my family and some friends, I took a step back and looked at my options. I ended up finding Toronto Film School and even though it was a college and I'd have to take the subway to class everyday, I ended up going there and having the best experience. 

Ever since graduating, I got a full time job, I've been financially independent and I can't even imagine what my life would have been like if I went to University instead. 

With all that being said, my advice to my younger self would be to LET GO. Trust God, trust the process and everything will work out fine. Know what you want and believe in yourself - but don't let that blind you from other options and opportunities. I was so set on Ryerson that I didn't even think of the possibility of ending up anywhere else. It was very hard to let go of that dream, but when I did, everything else just fell into place.

Today's look is this chic little leopard button up with a pair of black leather drawstring pants and I popped my white faux fur jacket on over top. It's chilly out there!

Honey Jacket // H&M Blouse // Saks Pants // Converse Shoes // 

Thanks for reading today!


  1. Mikayla I learned so much about you in this post and I feel a sense of pride for you. Letting go and letting life take you where you need to be is EVERYTHING!

    1. I'm glad to hear that!! SO TRUE! Thank you Laurel! And thanks so much for reading xox