When I was in my undergrad at CSU, Northridge (Go Matadors!) I discovered a passion – editing and proofreading the writing of others. Or more specifically and as others might put it, fixing people’s mistakes.
Since then, I have offered my services as a freelancer to friends, family, and friends of friends. Most of the time I did research or term papers but on occasion I would get to do fun stuff like create, proofread, edit, and distribute a birthday fact sheet or proofread/edit creative writing such as short stories and novels.
Sadly, I did not have the time to consider completing an internship in the editing/publishing field during my undergrad because I was commuting to school which I was attending full time and working part time whenever possible. So naturally when I graduated and started looking for a job in my desired field I lacked the necessary experience which I would have gained from an internship. Hindsight truly is 20/20.
So I spent nearly two years after graduating with my B.A. applying like mad for jobs in editing/publishing and came up empty-handed. Frustrated, I decided that I wanted to go back to school for a Master’s thinking it might give me an edge on the competition. I looked into numerous schools, especially those offering M.S. degrees in publications but the closest I found was in Texas. Texas was a long way away and it wasn’t a program I found very interesting. The program I really wanted was a West Virginia University. But that was pricey and even further away.
For those of you who know me, you know that my family is everything to me. Moving across the country was not ideal, especially when my grandfathers were so unwell. Deciding that an M.A. in English would be just as valuable I started looking for programs in California and settled on the one at CSU, Bakersfield in the hope that I could take all of my classes at the satellite campus just a mile from home. Unfortunately, after everything was said and done and I was registered, they closed the English program completely at the CSUB satellite campus. I panicked at first but realized that Bakersfield wasn’t too far away and was completely doable. My best friend had done it and so could I. But I didn’t want to commute like I did for the full four years of my undergrad in Northridge. I made the big decision to quit my job and move to Bakersfield.
I started my program and three weeks in I had a complete breakdown and kept asking, “Why did I do this to myself?!” Going back to school was hard after being away from it for two years and adapting to the rigorous 10 week quarters that CSUB had was intense. I nearly dropped out after my first quarter because it felt like a huge mistake to go back to school.
Fortunately, my first quarter was followed by summer break so I had time to really think about what I wanted. That and I had met some pretty wonderful people in my program who made me feel like part of their close-knit family. So I decided to stick around and made the big move to a sizable one bedroom apartment with a view of Oildale (not a gorgeous view during the day but at night the lights were pretty to look at).
For the first six months of living in Bakersfield I probably sent out somewhere around 30 applications. From that I received two job interviews, neither of which were fruitful. But then something wonderful happened – one of my professors was going to be publishing new versions of her textbooks and she wanted to recruit some of the grad students as research assistants. And she wanted to PAY US to do it! I signed up right away, attended some work meetings about what needed to be done, and got to work.
As I got to know my professor better we talked about my life goals and I explained that my passion was in editing. She fully supported me and offered to use me as a copy editor for one of her textbooks. Of course I jumped at the opportunity. Shortly after that my professor hooked me up with a proofreading job for a local community college which I was also thrilled to accept. Through it all my professor was basically like striking oil or finding gold because she not only gave me the opportunity to gain experience doing what I love but she encouraged me to persevere (even though she really wanted me to teach lol).
To my great surprise and sadness, my graduate education flew by and I was done in a year and a half. I made wonderful friends and connections who I wish I could still see regularly. I also learned a lot about myself and what I want. I didn’t want to settle.
**Side note to provide a shameless promotion of CSUB. Seriously, the English program I attended at Bakersfield was wonderful. The professors are great and the community created there between the students as well as professors is something I can’t really describe except to say that it is one of a kind and a truly fulfilling experience. So if you’re looking for an M.A. in English check it out! It’s worth it.**
But I finished school and found myself right where I was before going back to school: living back at home and this time, jobless. Don’t get me wrong, living at home is not the stigma many think it is – at least I don’t think so. But my family is incredibly close and supportive and I’m not the kind of person to sit moping; I have life goals and my family knows I’m not going to be a couch potato mooch for the rest of my life.
Luckily, I was given the opportunity to go back to work for the school district I worked for before moving, but this time as a clerical sub instead of an AVID tutor or instructional aide. So for my last quarter of my graduate education I commuted to school and worked part time. A struggle in terms of time management but doable and I regret nothing.
After finishing my last quarter I continued working part time at the front desk of the high school district office. I sent out countless applications weekly and came up with four job interviews, three of which I took and two of which were at the district office.
The gold was in the third interview. SAGE Publications, a company I had been applying to since I graduated from CSU, Northridge, called to offer me a job interview. I was so dumbfounded I kept saying “awesome” to everything the recruiter said like I had reverted to my inarticulate ’90s preteen self.
The interview was interesting and something I had not experienced before – three back-to-back interviews in one morning with interesting and fun interview questions I have never been asked before. Everyone I encountered in the office and in the interview process was polite and made me feel welcome and comfortable.
I left feeling pretty good about my interviews although more nervous than usual because 1) I really wanted the job and 2) I may have cried a little.
About a week went by and I got a call from SAGE. A background screening for me was a go. Yay! Three days later I got another call…I GOT THE JOB!!!
I am so ecstatic. I mean, it really is surreal because the editing and publishing field is a difficult one to get into, and I finally did it! This lady *thumbs pointed at me* is a brand new editorial assistant at SAGE Publications. Woo hoo! Cheers to a new beginning and an exciting new future for me. It’s going to be wild and I’m going to love it – I just know it!
**Thank you to all of my friends and family for constantly being my supportive and encouraging rocks. I love you all bunches!**
So keep pressing on, readers. Goals can be achieved with perseverance and dedication.
Enjoy the sun and moon, WriterlyBite patrons.