Alysia Harji has always had a plan for her future. And no matter what obstacles she’s encountered along the path to her goal, she’s managed to excel at every step.
"My daughter motivates me every day to continue my education, because I know going to Seneca and continuing my education is just going to better my future and hers."
I’ve known that I wanted to get into marketing ever since grade ten. I started with an introduction to business course and I was hooked. I continued taking marketing, finance, management and e-com classes all throughout high school. It was something I was really interested in, and I excelled. And ever since then, I knew this is what I wanted to do.
My plans got thrown off a little bit when I became pregnant in high school at age 17. I ended up taking a year off school, and had a daughter. A lot of people told me, you’re not going to make it. The odds aren't in your favour. Not many people graduate high school as a teen mom, let alone college or university. So I think the drive to do well came from people telling me that I couldn't do it.
Even though it’s been difficult trying to balance being a mom and going to school, I think my story is one of overcoming challenges. I managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA, was valedictorian at graduation and was awarded the Seneca Cup, which recognizes your academic achievement and contribution to student life. I also worked as a peer tutor, which was really rewarding. It was great to see other students who didn’t even think they could make it through the semester end up walking out with great marks, and knowing that I helped them develop. I guess that was the mother in me.
My experience at Seneca has been amazing. The faculty is really supportive. If you would have met me before I started at Seneca, I was a lot more shy and reserved because of everything that’s happened. But by the end, I was speaking in front of hundreds of people.
I’m now starting a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Marketing Management at Ryerson University. After I graduate, I would love to get into the field and actually work in marketing or finance. I’d also like to further my education and get my MBA one day. Maybe even look into opening my own agency down the road. I’ve got a plan and I’m trying to stick to it.
"Seneca gave me the chance to do a lot of hands-on learning. I was able to work on marketing campaigns and build business plans, which will be extremely useful when I get out there."