Sometimes you have to take a chance, an opportunity won’t “fall in your lap”, or appear before you. You create your own opportunities and chances. Just like there are no overnight successes there are no (or very few) chances falling from the sky with no work/effort to create them. When we attend university we are doing so with an end goal in mind, it might be a vague dream, or a more specific one. But there is a reason we choose to go to university, to spend the money, the time, and the hair we lose from stress. But graduating university isn’t a dream-job-in-hand guarantee. How close you are to that dream job will depend on the program you’re in. It will depend on the dream itself. But, the work doesn’t stop because you get your degree.
I have been working toward a career in publishing or being published. I have worked hard since I got that elusive piece of paper. But one difference is there is no definitive progress. When I worked on my degree, those days that it felt like it would never happen, all I had to do was log into Degreeworks and see all the green ticked boxes, or the blue ~ ones to see how far I had come. I could see the progress and the end. But now? It isn’t so clear, and I kind of miss that about university.
I work as hard now, or harder, than when I was attending university. I log hours and hours at my desk, with my tablet in front of me, or reading through books. I research tirelessly, I write and revise, I attend events, talks, and webinars. I applied for remote internships but the competition for these is fierce. There are some internships that require experience in the industry.
I took a chance when I emailed Karl and asked questions about writing for the magazine. He gave me an opportunity (and thankfully feedback because that first article was terrible). I took his advice and I wrote an article that he published, and I continued to write, every week, until he got used to seeing my work come in and offered me a weekly spot. It took several weeks of submitting articles every week before that was offered, and I was thrilled. But it took work.
While attending a talk a few weeks ago, I took a chance to mention my eagerness for the publishing industry and that I was seeking a remote internship. This led to an opportunity to prove myself, and, eventually, I got the internship. I am beyond thrilled to be starting down this path. I anticipate it will be a lot of work but this chance will open so many doors for me.
These chances didn’t come because I wished for them. I worked hard to create that chance, I spent the time attending talks, refining my writing, learning my voice, and gaining the confidence to leap on these chances as they appeared. It would have been easy to give up when my first article tanked, or to stay the shy person I am and not mention my interest in a position. It would be easy to send applications semi-anonymously, but these are not what presented the opportunities. It was showing my willingness to learn, my eagerness to be apart of an industry, and working for that dream.
If there is something you have been considering, something you have been wanting to do, go for it: apply for the position, take that extra course, stick your neck out for your dream. The worst thing that will happen is you get a “no,” but when you get that no (and inevitably you will), learn from it, apply what you learn the next time, and each time you will be a step closer to realizing what you want: achieving a piece of that dream you have been working for.
Anything seems possible if you are persistent enough. It might take longer than you want to see something come from the efforts but, if you stick it out, it will eventually come. Don’t lose sight of what drives you, of why you started this path, because that will be what keeps you going when it seems impossible.
Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature. Follow her path on the writing journey at https://deannaroney.wordpress.com/