I was just a number in the system in high school, says Kamila Sýkorová

Kamila Sýkorová is completing her studies in engineering at NEWTON University and also works at the school's career centre. While in high school she felt like just a number in the system, but at NEWTON she’s part of a family. Kamila explains her study and career path and how she managed to pay for her studies.

Kamila, what kind of experience did you get during your studies?

I studied media management for my undergraduate degree and in my third year I got my dream job as a social media coordinator in a regional newsroom at Czech Television.  Although it was a dream job for me, I wasn't happy. After a few months, I realised that I wasn’t finding the job fulfilling due to the competitive and uncollegial team. The pay also didn't reflect the energy and know-how I brought to the role. 

Since my undergraduate days, I have always been very involved in NEWTON University activities, including acting as a presenter at public events, from open days to events like the Gaudeamus college fair. 

How did you manage to do so many activities alongside studying?

It was quite demanding – attending school events, working full-time in TV, and studying. Our academic schedule was very accommodating, allowing us to fit in work around our studies. Unfortunately, we didn't have online classes like we have had since the pandemic – if I was absent, I couldn't just catch up. 

You're in an engineering programme now, and you're also working at NEWTON Careers, right?

Exactly. At the career’s centre I have several roles – I’m a coordinator in the sense that I interact with students and also with companies, and I consult with students about their CVs and LinkedIn profiles. Just now I was just helping a student put together a vision board.  I am in charge of the student internship agenda for the whole of NEWTON University and I also act as a study advisor for students on some MSc programmes.

How did you get the job?

After finishing my bachelor’s and not having the best work experience in television, I wanted a more relaxed job – I could have baked rolls in a bakery! I learned that NEWTON was looking for a person to run the student internship department. I took the position, and at the beginning of the following year, the career centre was established with Andrea Kráslová as the head. The work is very flexible, allowing me to, for example, work three days a week, around twelve hours a day, and then having the rest of the time for my own studies.

Going back to your studies, what subject do you enjoy the most?

I've always enjoyed digital marketing and it was great to study media management and work in television at the same time. I particularly enjoyed Social Media and Campaigns due to the great lecturer, Klara Mouchová. Jiri Koleňák is also great – he taught us management in a practical and very entertaining way. 

If you had to choose a university all over again, what would you focus on?

I had a pretty bad experience in high school – I was really just a number in the system, and when I needed support it was rarely available. The experience put me off the public school system, so I decided pretty early that I wanted to go to a private college, even though I knew I would have to pay for it myself. I went to the Gaudeamus school fair and that's where I discovered NEWTON. After attending the open day the family-like and very personal environment really drew me in – I knew it was a good fit because it felt like home.

So do you recommend applicants to attend the open day?

I think it's great to find a student who's already been to the school and is involved in it in some way, so they don't just tell you the good things, but how it really works. Also, my biggest tip is that everyone should make their own decisions, and not let their parents decide which university they should go to, or what they should study – they won't be the ones actually studying, and there's no point in pursuing something you don't enjoy.

You said you had to earn your way through college. Do you have a tip for those for whom finances would be a barrier to studying at NEWTON?

There are lots of ways to finance your studies and anyone can do it. I managed it with a part-time job that earned me twelve thousand crowns a month. The payments can be divided into monthly instalments, which is how I was paying originally. There are a lot of options, and there are also various scholarships available.

What kind of classmates do you have at NEWTON University?

I have a lot of interesting people around me – successful but currently unknown entrepreneurs, cool people who’re joining a company or business owned by their parents, and others with interesting jobs. There's a very diverse range of students, which is different from at other universities – for example, one of my friends is studying biochemistry and all of her classmates are clear about what they're going to do, and it’s all the same thing. Here, there's one student who's an entrepreneur, one who's a manager, one who runs Bolt for Eastern Europe, and then there's me, for example, who's a careers officer. You also make some great contacts here, who you might not use right away, but in ten years' time you definitely will.

Do you have any idea what you’re going to do next, after you graduate?

I enjoy my work and plan to stay in the Career’s Centre. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a teacher and work with students, and I’ve realised that's what I'm actually doing. I give lectures, consult with students about their studies and their work, and give credit and final grades. 

When I graduate, I also want to devote my time to other projects. Margareta Křížová, who is an entrepreneur [Ed: Margareta also runs the NEWTON Business Accelerator – find out more here!] , and I were discussing current trends in the world of work - more and more, people are employed and also have other projects that generate income. I'm very much leaning towards that idea and it was good to be reassured by Margareta that it’s a viable path. 

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