When my doe-eyed self first started college, I was swept off of my feet by academia. All of it captivated me: the grand and echoing lecture halls, the erudite opinions of the upperclassmen, the sophisticated academic journals, the fantastical maze-like hallways leading to a professor’s office. Everything felt new and fresh and intelligent, and I wanted to be part of it forever!
Well, I’m a couple of years older now, and a little less awed. I’ve gotten used to lecture halls, and though they are still teeming with new and old ideas, their seats are now cozy enough for me to fall asleep a few times. I’ve tried to be a staff member on a fiction publication only to learn that some of my peers are simply reactionary and try to sound smart by making captious remarks on their behalf.
However, attending office hours in Wheeler still amazes me. Every time I reach the fourth floor I’m breathless and excited and sometimes (embarrassingly) shaking, and sometimes my professors see that and sometimes they don’t. But they always give me a warm smile and willingly share their grad school theses with me, or give me a list of book recommendations on their favorite literary critical theorists.
This summer I have an internship with a local book publisher, and as much as my first-year self would hate to admit, I like it. Reading manuscripts, talking to authors, and meeting inspiring individuals who love what they do so much that their work reflects it is almost as rewarding when I first walked onto campus. These two experiences, though wildly different, are two of the most important career realizations I’ve had in my life. And that’s kind of why I’m at that crossroads.
These days I’ve been preparing my life for these two different futures. I’ve been studying for the GRE and I’ve been doing professional internships–I’ve been delving into literary theory and reading Book Forum and Publisher’s Weekly. At this point it’s a toss up and (oh! what a shame) later on I know I’ll have to choose, or at least try one or the other first. But for now I’m going to hang up the logic of the situation–ignore the This, or even the That–and I’m going to enjoy both futures.
Either way, it’s looking pretty bright.