UK journalist launches writing career at Douglas

By Maansi Pandya, Professional Communication grad 

It was 2016, and I had just completed my undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia. While UBC had been an excellent challenge and a great first step in my education, I still felt like I had a lot more to learn. Like many young people early on in their careers, I was overwhelmed by my options and unsure of what my next step should be. I’ve always been a creative person and have loved writing since childhood, but I didn’t know how to translate my love of writing into a career. I decided the obvious next step was to continue my education. Then came the tough part, deciding where to study next!

I knew I wanted a career where I could be creative, tell stories and hone my craft as a writer. After some lengthy research into several post-graduate programs with a creative focus, I eventually discovered Douglas College’s Professional Communication Post-Degree Diploma. Joining the program turned out to be the best decision I’ve made and eventually helped me find a career I love: journalism.

At Douglas, I took courses in public relations, magazine writing, editing, copywriting and more. I came away from each course feeling fulfilled, inspired and excited about what I had learned.

The smaller class sizes meant each student was given undivided attention and constant feedback, which proved to be invaluable in my growth as a writer. I also had the best instructors I could have asked for, each incredibly knowledgeable and supportive of my growth.

One of the many high points of the program was taking Roberta Staley’s journalism course, where I had my first foray into the exciting world of reporting. My first assignment was to report on Vancouver’s chapter of the 2017 Women’s March on Washington for the Vancouver Observer. Interviewing marchers and hearing their stories was a thrilling experience.

Next, as part of the program’s work placement, I interned at Vancouver and Western Living magazine. The internship turned out to be a key turning point for me. It gave me the opportunity to be published in a well-known magazine and further improve my writing skills. Getting feedback from professional editors was incredibly rewarding. I also made lifelong friends in the process.

My internship eventually led me to become a freelance writer for Canada Wide Media’s BC Living magazine. Freelancing was a fun, completely different world. It involved lots of invoices, emails and follow-ups, but also gave me the chance to create my own schedule and be in charge of what I wrote. For anyone interested in freelancing, the best advice I could give is to find a way to organize all your upcoming projects that works best for you. Personally, I found bullet-journaling to be a very practical, less restrictive way to keep track of all my deadlines. Freelancing can be unpredictable. I sometimes went from having three articles due a week to one a month.

Since graduating from Douglas, I moved to London, England, to pursue my journalism career. I’m extremely excited for what’s to come and am very grateful to my instructors at Douglas for all their wisdom, guidance and for helping me find my passion.

Information sessions for the Post-Degree Diploma in Professional Communication are on now at the New Westminster Campus. Register now!

Maansi Pandya is a freelance writer and journalist from Vancouver. After graduating with BA in Sociology from UBC, she earned a Post-Degree Diploma in Professional Communication at Douglas College in 2018. Maansi has written for BCLiving, Western Living, Vancouver Magazine and the Vancouver Observer. She now lives and works in London, England.

Featured image: Visual of Maansi’s report on
2017 Women’s March on Washington for the Vancouver Observer.

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