In order to begin explaining my life after the three years studying at York St. John University (2015-18), I first need to highlight some events which occurred over my three years as a YSJ undergraduate.
I chose English Literature as my BA subject at YSJ for only one reason: my passion for books. I knew from a young age a University degree was going to be almost mandatory for future success. I chose to study at YSJ for one simple reason: it felt like home. I travelled from my hometown a few miles outside of Norwich up to York and instantly fell in love with the campus. Besides the stunning architecture, I instantly believed that the tutors at YSJ cared for me as an individual rather than merely a student on the course.
In the second semester of my final year, the University offered a module, ‘Literature at Work,’ which allowed students to explore the many avenues of employment after taking an English Literature degree. Within this module, most weeks consisted of a lecture and Q&A from people working in employment from journalism to publishing. Prior to my final year at YSJ, I had very little idea as to where my academic career was leading me. Again, I knew I wanted to work with books; however, my in-depth knowledge of specific book-related sectors was almost non-existent.
David Barker, who worked with Continuum publishing, later to be purchased by publishing behemoth Bloomsbury, offered an extremely insightful lecture on life in the publishing world. I instantly fell in love with every element of the industry and truly believed I had finally worked out the next step of my academic career.
I spoke to David after the lecture and discovered he was a lecturer at the University of Derby, offering a Publishing MA. After visiting an open day at Derby, I was offered an unconditional offer on the course. All of the events, from my initial conversation with David to the offer on the Publishing MA happened within a few months over early to late Spring 2018.
September 2018 saw the beginning of my MA at Derby. Throughout the first semester, I came to understand that without choosing YSJ, this opportunity may have never been offered to me. I have fallen in love with academia once again and now wish to pursue a career in Publishing after this semester. The MA offers students to create and engage with a ‘Major Project’ of their choice, where you must find and publish work of your choice (specifically written for the project). I decided to work with YSJ and their alumni in order to create a short anthology of work which can then be distributed to current and future YSJ students.
This piece has touched mostly on my academic life during and after my time at YSJ, but it would be unfair to leave without acknowledging the friendship and community which I have become a part of. I have made friends with students who I now see as friends for life, alongside creating bonds with tutors who I know are always willing to help with anything I need, even after my transition from student to alumni.