Academic advisor uses digital communication skills to support creative writing students
Aleya Abdulla. Photo by Greg Ehlers.
“I now have a better understanding of how writing and reading are evolving in a rapidly changing media landscape.”
Aleya Abdulla has always loved reading and writing, spending a lot of time in libraries and bookstores. Combining this with her love for working with people, she currently serves as an undergraduate advisor in UBC’s Creative Writing Program. She took our Digital and Mobile Marketing Certificate to upgrade her digital communication skills and prepare for the next steps in her career.
What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
Working with the students and providing them the support they need to navigate their studies. I’m also hugely inspired by the talent that comes through this program! It's wonderful to work in the midst of such ingenuity and creativity.
How did the Digital & Mobile Marketing program prepare you for this work?
In my job, clear communication is central. I learned how to effectively communicate information and tailor my content to different audiences on different platforms. Communication is very different today than it was just a few years ago. I now have a better understanding of how writing and reading are evolving in a rapidly changing media landscape.
What was it like going back to school?
It was fun! I've always enjoyed learning new things, so it was great to be immersed in a full-time, concentrated program. I made friends and we stayed in touch after the program ended, sharing our continuing digital journeys and offering tips and resources.
What sort of challenges did you face?
Some skills were a bit more challenging to learn than others; for example, HTML was totally foreign to me. I overcame challenges by reminding myself that I was a beginner and I was here to learn. It helped to have the support of the other students, since we all experienced challenges at some point.
What’s the most valuable thing you gained from the program?
I learned that branding is a fun and creative process, and that it not only applies to traditional selling and marketing, but also shapes our interactions and impacts the personal and professional messages we put out into the world. Learning about the legalities of digital media was also extremely valuable.
Any advice for future students?
I would suggest thinking about a project or creative endeavour they’d like to explore during the course. Are they taking the program for personal interest, professional advancement, a complete career change, starting a business? It's good to have a desired outcome in mind, but also be open to that changing. The instructors are experts in their fields and it’s a wonderful opportunity to benefit from their guidance and mentorship.
What are your future career goals?
I would love to do more writing myself, collaborating with others who share my passions. I'm confident my career will continue to evolve through working with writers and other creatives. Advising, coaching and teaching will likely play a central role.
Aleya Abdulla. Photo by Greg Ehlers.
More about Daniel
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Surprise, surprise—a writer!
What are you reading and/or watching right now?
On Netflix, I love an Australian comedy called Dreamland. It’s centred on government office bureaucracy and I find it hilarious. I lived in Brisbane for a year and this show makes me want to go back.
If you could have a dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
I recently completed my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training, and I would love to meet Yogi Bhajan, the man who brought this practice to the West in the 1960s. He seems like he would be a hoot.
What’s one food you would never give up?
Coffee...is that a food?
Favourite travel spot?
I love Italy: the food, the art, the architecture, the lifestyle, the language. I could go on. I was there for six weeks in 2013 and I can't wait to go again.