I spent the last six years of my higher-ed life trying to answer one question: “What do you want to be when you grow up? “ Well, as much as I hate to admit it, I’m ‘grown up’ now – both my driver’s license and birth certificate can confirm this.
On my first day of my freshman year of college, I walked into class confident that I was on track to a business management degree. An hour and fifteen minutes later I walked out and sent my adviser a brief e-mail: “This isn’t going to work.” Hours of thumbing through course catalogues and imagining myself in various careers (some of which, albeit, were wildly unattainable) led me nowhere. So I decided to throw caution to the wind and pick a major that would allow me to do something that I love: write.
“What in the world are you going to do with a degree in English? Write poetry all day?” my dad would ask. Those types of questions increased in frequency when I decided to go on to get my master’s degree. However, my response was always the same: “I don’t know.”
So in the spring, when all my friends and classmates started sending out résumés and cover letters for jobs, I followed suit. Again, I started imagining myself in different careers (journalist, graphic designer, marketing associate). I was going up against hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants for some of these positions, so my career search became a little less hopeful and a lot more desperate (telemarketer, lifeguard, hot dog vendor).
I didn’t want to give up what I wanted to do because of the job economy, so I turned my focus to publishing internships. I was always interested in the industry, particularly book publishing. While working on my master’s, I helped a professor publish one journalism textbook and one e-learning module. So with that experience under my belt, I started applying.
And now here I am—two months and four books into my internship and I love every single second of it. The things I’ve learned, and continue to learn, will stick with me throughout my professional life. Currently, I am managing three titles from manuscript to bound book. This means I get to interact with authors, development editors, proofreaders and copy editors, and many other awesome people throughout the process. And the best part of all: I get to have my name published in the front of each book!
Although I’m not writing at this internship, my skills I obtained as a writer are easily transferrable to my internship (organization, eye for detail, ability to effectively communicate a message).
If someone told 18-year-old me that I would one day be working as an editorial intern at a publishing company, I would have called them a liar (but probably not to his/her face). I’ve changed a lot since then, especially that horrendous haircut, but my change to what could be a career in publishing is the one that I’m happiest about.
Even though my path to this internship was roundabout, I’m glad I kept my options open and sought out every opportunity that came my way. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have realized how much I enjoy doing what I do now.