“My motto is ‘just say yes’,” says Samuelle – Sam – Mednick (BJH ’05). It helps to explain why her journey from the King’s quad to Barcelona, where she now lives and works, has taken her to Fiji, Vancouver, Argentina, Lebanon, Panama, Uganda, and Ghana along the way.
“I never loved school,” says Sam of her high school years in Toronto, “So a general BA would not have been right for me. I needed something with more focus.”
A love of writing led her to apply to journalism schools across the country. When she saw King’s, “I knew that was it. The quad had a warm feeling and the campus wasn’t overwhelmingly large or scary.”
Life at King’s sparked Sam’s spirit of adventure. “It’s a small community,” she explains. “You can put yourself out there and take a chance on things. You don’t have to be a certain way. It’s very liberating.”
Sam says that although the Foundation Year Programme was “not really me”, I enjoyed the books and it forced me to read and think in a certain way.” She loved that she could tailor her degree and do a double honours in journalism and law, health, and English. And when she found out that she could spend a semester in Fiji running her own radio show as part of an exchange program, her response was “why not?”
Through her studies and her work in Fiji, Sam discovered a passion for interviewing. “I love speaking to people, understanding their context, listening, and asking good follow-up questions. It’s something King’s taught me well.”
After graduating with her bachelor of journalism degree in 2005, Sam translated her interviewing skills and “why not” approach into a PR job in Vancouver, followed by four months of teaching skiing in Argentina, where she learned Spanish. She boldly contacted a long-admired Toronto radio host, which resulted in a two-year stint as a producer on his show.
“There are certain places that pull you, that you want to go to,” says Sam, explaining her next move, which was eight months in Ghana with Journalists for Human Rights. “I went to Africa because it is a whole other world. I like people’s stories and I wanted to be involved on a more one-on-one level.” That interest led to her helping a young Ghanaian student apply and get accepted to the King’s School of Journalism.
Sam left Africa for Europe and settled in Barcelona, where she works as a journalist for the Travel Media Group, part of USA Today, and co-owns a private boutique touring company. Her most recent venture is a life coaching company called Blueprint Coaching. “It’s for people who are going through personal or professional transitions – including university students who have graduated and are unsure about their next step. Like journalism, it’s all about asking the right questions and listening,” explains Sam.
“When I think back, says Sam, “King’s helped me to understand different perspectives and different walks of life. I learned about ethics and patience, honed my interviewing and writing skills, and I made friends with people I am still friends with. And it gave me confidence that I could be who I wanted to be.”