My name is Alex and I graduated from DePauw University on May 23, 2010 with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Psychology. The first question I was ever asked, was, “What are you going to do with a degree in English Literature? Be a teacher?” Not too original. I guess some people just can’t think outside of the box. The truth is, I am thankful I chose a small liberal arts college and received a B.A. in Literature. I started off at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and hated it. It was too big, too noisy, I was lost. I wanted an environment that was conducive to my learning style, and for me, that was good old DePauw in Greencastle, Indiana.
But back to the issue of “the major.” The major often defines us, and that is why I believe most people change it so often. Who really knows what they want to do as a freshman or sophomore in college? I thought I wanted to major in Advertising while I was at UIUC. I thought wrong. I got to DePauw (and other than the fact there are no specialty majors as it is a liberal arts college) I figured out two things: I loved to read and I loved to write. Why not major in something I love? Some people call majoring in something as “not practical” as English Literature a luxury. I believe this to be a farce. In all honesty, English Literature was a brilliant plan. I learned to read and analyze in a way many people don’t care to take the time to consider. I learned about history and the English language (and how society is now butchering it through the very medium I am currently writing through). With Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and un-spellchecked blogs, I saw the deterioration of a beautiful thing.
So it got me to thinking…how do I answer those who ask “Why? Why English Literature?” My answer is, no, I am not going to be a teacher. I don’t think I would do teaching the same justice as my high school English teachers and especially my college professors. The summer between my freshman and sophomore year, I interned with Pearson Education Inc., a global publisher of education and technology titles. Have you ever read the Idiot’s Guides or noticed your science and math books are either Pearson, Prentice Hall, Addison-Wesley, or Allyn & Bacon? What about technology books on Windows and Mac systems from QUE or SAMS? All of that is Pearson Edcuation, Inc. I was an intern with Pearson Learning Solutions and I worked on rights and permissions of online courses and assisted with other custom publishing jobs for the education industry. That is when I knew what I could do with a degree in English Literature…I could go into publishing.
The following summer I interned for the Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ) and bounced around like a company pinball in the Production, Editorial, and Custom Publishing departments. For Production, I designed ads to go into the bi-weekly newspaper publication of the IBJ, I assisted with layout for the classified section, and I designed a logo for the Continuing Lawyer Education conference. For the Editorial department I wrote small business start-ups on companies around the Indianapolis area. This is where I found out business writing was not for me. The Custom Publishing department allowed me the opportunity to write two personal articles about my internship experience in Indiana NEXT: A guide to life after high school and GRAD | Real Life Indiana. I wrote two feature articles, designed ads for both magazines, and maintained a blog for the 2008-2009 school year focusing on college life and what my friends were planning to do before and after graduation.
The summer between my junior and senior year, I skipped the internship and studied literature in Cambridge, UK. I was a part of the Pembroke-King’s College Summer Programme and I took courses on creative writing, medieval literature, and the literature and culture of Bloomsbury. I did this for myself as throughout my years at DePauw, I realized I wanted to study in the place where some of my favorite literary artists went to school, visited, lived, and learned. British Literature is a love of mine, so that summer I chased it.
My senior year came and all around me I had girls and guys panicking. “What are we going to do?” “There are no jobs in this economy!” “The only safe ones are the economics majors.” I thought I was safe. I had packed my resume with internships, studying abroad, working on the school newspaper, being on the executive board at my sorority…I thought I had padded myself pretty well. The truth was though, that the industry I loved (publishing in case you forgot) was a lot harder to break into on a permanent work basis than I believed. I was lucky to secure another paid internship with Pearson Education, Inc. as a Project Editor for the summer after graduation, but up until then I was frantically applying to every creative publication outlet. BookJobs and Media Bistro became (and still are) bookmarked on my laptop. I have spent the better part of this summer applying online, praying my hard work of packing my resume would pay off.
I guess that’s why I am starting this blog. I am deciding to chronicle my journey of my post-graduate life, class of 2010. It probably would have meant more starting before graduation or right at the beginning of the summer, but then again, there is not better time than the present. So here is my present. I will be using this as my own personal outlet, feel free to comment. Tell me about your job searches, your post-graduation plans. How is this economy treating you?
I’m also an avid writer and reader so this blog will also be a mix of reviews from the books I have read or am currently reading. Just a gentle warning, I am a big fan of the supernatural and paranormal. Yes, I still read young adult literature and I enjoy it. So if you are into the same, hopefully this blog will help you choose some light reading and serve as your own personal novel research. Wish me luck!