To understand how Meagan Campbell managed to land a full time job at a national newspaper just as she graduated, or how she had had a full time position at Maclean’s magazine for three years in between the third and fourth year of her journalism degree, you have to know a little bit about how Zamboni drivers work when they refresh the ice surface between hockey periods.
“Most Zamboni drivers get to the end of the rink and turn right,” Meagan explains. “They go in a clockwise direction. There’s no reason for it. They just do.”
Meagan knows this because as an assignment for a first-year journalism elective she interviewed the Zamboni driver at Saint Mary’s University rink.
“This man had decided when he got to the end of the rink he was going to go left. He had this whole philosophy that that is how he lives his life. He does things against the status quo and pushes back against norms.”
And that’s what Meagan does.
“I always thought it would be easier to be normal. But I turn left. I am never willing to settle.”
Here’s an example. When Meagan was finishing grade 11 at the Halifax Grammar School, she was eager to begin university. She wrote a letter to King’s.
“I asked the Registrar if they would let me in. I was making the argument that I would get more out of the Foundation Year Program (FYP) than grade 12. I was in the IB program (International Baccalaureate) and it condenses most of high school into grades ten and eleven.”
That fall she started FYP, just 16 years old and learning how to drive.
“I was absolutely in love with FYP. And having journalism as an elective made it a perfect combination for me. Better than learning how to drive a standard.”
Meagan chose journalism as a major and began to freelance, “selling her journalism homework” as she puts it. Her time in FYP had given her the ability to digest and analyze dense text—a skill that would serve her well as her career developed.
When she was in third year Meagan began applying for summer positions. She applied to an internship at Maclean’s magazine, and her cover letter sparked an interest with the editors. They called her for an interview. Meagan made one of her left turns when they asked her why she wanted to work at the magazine. She said, “I figured you might ask about that, and I wouldn’t want to bore you, so I actually wrote the answer as a rap, if you’d like to hear it.”
In that rap version of her answer she covered the history of Maclean’s, added some Chinese she was learning and made a pitch for being part of the magazine’s editorial team.
It led to a three-year job at the magazine in Toronto and then Ottawa before returning to King’s to finish her degree.
After graduating, Meagan planned on freelancing and one day hopes to do a Master’s degree. While she was doing an internship in Toronto at the Globe and Mail, she received an invitation to the National Post building, also in Toronto, for a job interview. She accepted the interview and the job.
But Meagan had one more Kingsian responsibility to fulfill before heading to Toronto. She was voted class Valedictorian. Her speech, before the assembled grads, was typical Meagan—not rap, but it was in rhyme.
Left turns, every step of the way.
Posted: June 2019