Friday, 13 October 2017

Why I Chose to Do a Publishing Masters

If you had told me 3 years ago that I would be doing a Masters, I’d have laughed in your face - why would I sign myself up for yet more university?

Well, here I am, 3 weeks into a Publishing Media MA at Oxford Brookes University. I’ve chosen to blog about my experiences of my Masters a) to help others, but also b) to have a record of what I imagine is going to be quite a pivotal point in my life.

So what led me here? In a sense, it’s you guys (thank you).

2 years ago I moved to Germany for my Year Abroad. The first semester was tough: I felt isolated, stressed, and deeply unhappy. Fortunately, this led to a re-discovery of books due to the amount of free time I suddenly had to read (because I didn’t have any friends). I followed more bookstagram accounts and book blogs and publishers’ Twitter accounts. For some odd reason, the role of the publisher had never occurred to me before and I’d come to think of reading as a hobby rather than something that could be turned into a career. Somewhere along the line, though, a lightbulb went on: books don’t just appear in the shop, someone has to get them there. I wanted to be part of that process.

Readabilitea started in Easter 2016 partly because of the social interaction it gave me but also because I realised I had nothing beyond my Goodreads account to show for my passion for reading, and something told me publishers would need more than that. Summer internship deadlines were already passing and the final year of my undergraduate degree was rapidly approaching, i.e. a year where I knew I would have loads on my plate anyway and didn’t want to have the stress of sorting out the future as well. I knew I didn’t want to be left adrift after graduating and this, combined with my (partially perceived) lack of experience, led to me looking at Masters degrees.

I had a few conditions:

  1. I didn’t want to move further away from my family - living in York was great but there were a few times that I needed to get home quickly and it was difficult and expensive.
  2. I wanted to study in/near London. Whilst it would be wonderful for the publishing industry to be more accessible and inclusive and less London-centric, the fact remains that a lot of publishing houses and internships are going in London.
  3. I preferably wanted to be able to live with my boyfriend. He knew he would be in Oxford for at least one more year, and I no longer wanted to be in a long distance relationship if I had a choice as to where I lived. I knew people who had lived in Oxford and commuted to London, so until I found out about the Brookes course, that was my plan.

Masters degrees in the UK are expensive and I knew the course I chose would have to make me more employable to be worth the time, money, and effort. When I came across Oxford Brookes in my research, the boxes were all ticked incredibly efficiently. I would be able to move to Oxford to live with my boyfriend and I would be studying on an internationally-renowned course which is incredibly influenced by current events in the industry. I would learn my way around the different areas of a publishing house, whilst being offered the opportunity to specialise to suit my personal career. I would be introduced to publishing professionals from across the industry whilst working with those who, along with me, will form the industry in the future.

Even after just 3 weeks, I know I’ve made the right decision - potentially the best decision I’ve made in my 22 years so far (it contends with the decision to pick up Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, aged 10).

If you're on a Publishing Masters, I'd love to hear about why you decided to do it, and I'd also love to hear from anyone considering embarking on one!
Happy reading,
Zoe