Sometimes, you read the right book at the right moment, and something in your mind just clicks. Two years ago I read Water for Elephants at the suggestion of a friend. For those who haven’t read it, the story is told from the point of view of an old man reflecting on the adventures of his young life. I devoured the book in two days – and that was when I realized I desperately needed an adventure.
Two years later I found myself in New York City, a long way from Raleigh, NC, pursuing a Masters in Publishing from Pace University. If you didn’t know that they offered Masters Degrees in Publishing, well, neither did I. After years of trying everything from food service to theater, I typed “masters degrees NYC” into Google and hit search. When my eyes lit upon Publishing, I realized everything in my life had been leading up to just that. I thought of the hours spent editing my brother’s short stories, reading fantasy novels late into the night, coaching classmates on their papers, writing essays for fun, creating style guides at work. I thought of spending my life with words, and once I thought it, I couldn’t go back.
Now, as I’m beginning my second semester in the Publishing program, I have words in abundance. As you might imagine, a Masters in Publishing entails a good deal of reading. Surprising, I know! The classes are designed to introduce students to the various departments in book and/or magazine publishing, including editorial, sales, production, marketing, digital, and even accounting. Unlike undergraduate work, nearly every assignment is germane to my goal of becoming an editor. Yet the real gems of the program have been unexpected. For my comic book class, for instance, I went to this year’s NY Comic Con, and immensely enjoyed the convention (getting James Marsters’ autograph happened to be another unexpected bonus). In another course, I was able to enjoy guest lectures from some of the brightest and most successful people in the industry. And through it all, I am constantly searching for extra nuggets of time to write my own words. This course of study, in this city, is nothing if not inspiring.
This semester, I’m happy to officially become a member of the WNBA as well. I owe my involvement with the WNBA to Jane Kinney-Denning, who is a Professor and the Director of Internships and Corporate Outreach at Pace University, and who encouraged me to take this internship. I have already met many amazing women in the organization, and cannot wait to meet more. What better community to learn more about publishing and celebrate books than this one?
Two years ago I read Water for Elephants, and two years later I am gazing at the Brooklyn Bridge out of the window of a train. This is the impact a book can have on a life. Every day, I am amazed at how fortunate I am that this is the adventure I chose.