At the end of August I will be graduating with a master’s degree in book publishing. But I came to PSU with an associate’s degree and way too many credits that didn’t transfer over, and I really had not a clue what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be.
I stumbled upon the Vanguard soon after starting classes, allowing me to work with words and get paid a little bit for it. The paper’s office is two floors below ground in Smith Memorial Student Union. It has no windows, dirty white walls, and just a little bit of asbestos in the carpet (It probably won’t kill me, right? Right?). Yet somehow, this asbestos dungeon has become like a second home to me, the people who work down here like family.
I got my bachelor’s degree in English and was accepted into the master’s in book publishing program. By far the best part of my time at PSU has been in this program, where I took classes on topics that range from book editing and book design to marketing and copyright law and the business of publishing. Aside from that, the program houses an entirely student-run publishing house, Ooligan Press. Students get put immediately into project teams—you’re really just thrown into it with the expectation that you’ll figure it out eventually. In those project teams, we acquire, edit, design, market and sell books—books by real, legit authors.
I knew I was in the right program immediately. The very first day of classes, the entire press all met to vote on a title for a book we were publishing. There was an argument over whether the title should use “gray,” the American version, or “grey,” the British version. As we are an American publishing house, I guess it makes sense that we would use “gray.” But don’t you think “grey” seems more elegant somehow? I could tell right away these were my people.
PSU is not perfect—not by a long shot. But it has also given me a chance to meet and work with extremely talented, passionate people who love books as much as I do. I’ve found my people, and we’re going to make some kick-ass books together, just you wait.
Am I getting too cheesy? Screw academia, the one most valuable thing I’ve learned at PSU is how to effectively dodge those people in the Park Blocks who want you to sign their clipboard petitions. I can now #fearlessly go anywhere without the worry of having to mumble “no, thanks” when asked if I care at all about dying polar bears and starving children.