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Close Encounters of a Publishing Kind: Being On a Publishing Course Without Having an English Degree by Hannah Reedy

By Camilla G Lunde, on 8 January 2016

Being on the UCL’s MA Publishing course has been one of the most fantastic opportunities I’ve ever had. While having been able to make more friends and learn new things, I’ve also been able to boost my chances of getting into the industry and securing a career.

When I look back on the first week of the course, I remember worrying so much, because I didn’t know if this was the right course for me. The main reason for this was searching on Twitter for my new course mates and finding that the majority of them were English or Literature graduates while I was a recent graduate in Graphic Arts. I was terrified that I didn’t have the same skills the rest of my cohort had, and that I would probably fail this course.

Well, I’m writing this as I’m just about to undertake the second term, and I have to say I’m still alive! It’s been hard at times, but I really don’t regret joining this course, and it has given me confidence in skills that I thought I didn’t have and ones I didn’t think I needed from my past course. I’ve found that I’ve done a lot more designing and illustrations than I had done in my year after my graduation!

So here are a few tips for those who are interested in applying for the 2016-2017 MA Publishing course but who might not have an English/Literature BA degree. Hopefully, it will encourage and inspire you to use your skills to your advantage!

  • Don’t feel intimidated!

On the first day of the course, you and every other of your classmates will be in the same boat. You will all be learning together, so there is no level of disadvantage for anyone. Just try to keep positive and remember you are on the course because you share the same passions and interests as those of your classmates, no matter if you’ve studied a different course!

  • Use your skills to your advantage!

Publishing has many varied areas from design to finance. So there are plenty of opportunities for the skills you have learned to shine! The skills you have will always work as an advantage to you and help to make you stand out from the others on the course. Also, if they are taught in class and people are struggling, make sure you’re available to give them a helping hand. It’s also key to keep your skills on your publishing CV, even though they may not seem relatable – you never know if they may come in handy.

  • Take as many opportunities as you can!

From internships to a call for help from tutors – make sure they know what you are skilled and interested in. If you work hard and show you’re interested with your skills, you will get noticed. It’s so important in the professional world to demonstrate you have a unique selling point because you’ll be more memorable to people who may have a job for you under their sleeves!

These are tips that I have learned from this first term on the course. It’s so important to make sure that you believe in yourself, and if you have a strong love for books and a passion for reading – you’ll fit in here just fine!

Good luck to you if you’re just about to send in your application, or just about to finish your graduate exams. Hope to see you soon at UCL!

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