Man wearing colourful hat pointing at camera

Supplied photo.

By Elijah O’Donnell

My dream after NAIT is to be working on sound design for movies or television.

One of the best things about how NAIT delivers its classes is how easy it is to get started in the industry and snag that dream spot. A quick search on NAIT’s website lets me know that there are over 50 programs available which end in a placement at a workplace that you’ve been working towards.

I’m in the Radio and Television Broadcasting program which gives me a lot of potential opportunities in finding placements.

Or, it did at least…

Since COVID-19 has struck and social distancing has integrated itself snuggly into our society, my dreams of a production studio placement have been crushed. I’ve been calling, emailing and shouting from my balcony at every studio I can find in hopes that they’re accepting practicum placements.

With the schooling I’ve taken so far, I should be able to look for a placement doing audio production, on-air announcing, copywriting, news curation, social media management and so much more, but every message I send almost gained a response identical to the very first I received from my dream placement.

“Hi Elijah,

Due to the current health scare, we have decided to postpone our summer/fall practicum program for this year. There are just too many uncertainties right now.

Thank you for reaching out to us and if the opportunity presents itself next year, we would like to hear from you.

Thanks for your understanding and best regards.”

It’s disheartening, and majorly disrupting a lot of people’s plans for the rest of their careers.

For me, I wanted to work through the summer to save up for my unpaid placement in the fall. Even if I could land a fall placement I wouldn’t really be able to save up for it. The idea of summer placement is out the window completely and no one wants to postpone their schooling longer than they have to when they are eager to start working for real like me.

My friend Chantal Dunn, a fellow Radio and Television Broadcasting student, has a bit of a unique situation. She works for a radio station already. She’s not only got an “in” for placement, but she’s also getting paid for it. The problem arises when she can no longer go to work at all.

“Placement was supposed to be 35 to 40 hours a week. But because of recent events, I’m forced to stay home and work from home until I can get back to my place of work […] It cost me a ton of money because I can’t do events anymore,” said Dunn.

Dunn’s placement is still technically in effect although many NAIT students are left floundering. I know I don’t really want to have to postpone my last semester of school for the winter or later, which would postpone my opportunity to start working for real, which would effectively postpone my life after college.

So no dream production studios, just middle school nightmares; I’m stuck at school.