If the saying ‘the toughest steel is forged in the hottest fire’ holds true, there’s something to be said about the high number of Langarans working in the notoriously rigorous field of journalism. That would come as no surprise to Langara Journalism alum, Stephanie Ip, whose fond memories of her ‘J-School’ experience are awash with long nights, tight deadlines, and victory pints.
“The Cambie Pub will always have a special place in my heart,” Stephanie says. “My favourite memories are the evenings we spent working late in the newsroom, trying to hit deadlines for the Langara Voice, and then heading out to the bar for ‘teambuilding’ and to celebrate another successful issue hitting newsstands.”
There’s a sense of pride and accomplishment in Stephanie’s words as she recalls her time in the program. “My time at Langara was both the hardest and easiest experience I’ve had as a student. It was hard because there were long hours and an intense workload but it was easy because it was some of the most enjoyable times I’ve had.”
In such a demanding learning environment, it’s natural to form strong bonds with fellow students, and to maintain those relationships after graduation. For Stephanie, it’s clear she feels a sense of comradery, collective experience, and unspoken acknowledgement in the struggle with classmates and fellow alum who have endured the rigors of the certificate program and the industry itself.
“Some of my best friends today are people I met during my time at Langara. Only those of us who have survived Langara Journalism together understand what that experience was like – the hard work, the long hours, the post-deadline beers and team bonding. We’ve experienced a lot of big life moments together and it’s awesome to know I came out of the program not just with the skills and know-how for breaking into journalism, but also life-long friends.” She continues, “I could show up to almost any journalism industry-related event in Vancouver and know there’s at least a few – if not more – Langarans present. It’s always fun to meet other journalists who also completed the Langara program and introduce ourselves by our graduating year.”
While Stephanie’s fellow classmates helped her endure the program, her instructors like esteemed reporter, Frances Bula, helped bridge the gap between school and industry work. “[Frances Bula] has been instrumental in guiding me towards where I am today. One of my most exciting moments after leaving Langara – and as I started working – was being able to see Frances out in the field and work alongside her, knowing I had learned from one of the best.”
The 2011 alum remains appreciative of the opportunities she’s been given thanks to Langara. She’s where she is today in part because of the connections and expertise of the department’s faculty. “One of my Langara journalism instructors was also a newsroom staffer at The Province. We kept in touch after I graduated and I often sought his advice as a young reporter. It was him who let me know there might be a position open in their newsroom and that’s where I’m still working today.”
Since graduating and moving into the field, Stephanie is now in the position to pay it forward. She’s eager to help the next generation of students and create interest in J-School. “It’s always exciting to be able to share what Langara Journalism has done for me and to hear that someone else is also taking a step toward their future by enrolling in the program,” she says. “Enrolling in Langara’s journalism program was the single best decision I ever made for my career. It gave me the hands-on skills I needed to hit the ground running in the news industry and mentors to help guide me there.”
Stephanie Ip is a Digital Reporter at the Vancouver Sun and The Province.