This is a “what is happening in my life post”!
With the end of an era… *dramatic music in the background* comes the assessment time we all dread. Or not. In fact, I am not dreading it at all. I have been waiting for this day.
Let’s rewind a bit. September 21st 2017 marked the first day of what has been a race through hell. The Department for Education calls it a Publishing Programme condensed in one year instead of two. If you have experience in the field or at least two years of university studying whatever the hell you were studying, you can apply. You must have a little masochist side, too.
Of course I enrolled.
It was a little different for me. On top of the excitement of being accepted and fulfilling a dream, I had to re-learn how to live out in the world. For those who weren’t there at the beginning of the journey, I suffer from a General Anxiety Disorder and I fight agoraphobia on a daily basis. Usually with my beautiful hair and long drives :p.
So I guess this makes this post a victory post. I want to share how being a publishing student was, but at the same time, I want to say how some days sucked because of my mental health as well as how I called some teachers names I won’t repeat in front of them. I was thinking about leaving out the illnesses to focus on school but it had such an impact on it that I want to stick my tongue and say ‘I WIN, YOU DWEEB!’
September 2017 – May 2018. It might look like a short time. It is. But hell did it seem long some days! Why? Law classes have never been my favorite, no matter how nice the teacher is. Math? *pukes* Putting 28 students together five days a week was bound to create friendships, feuds, tears, screams, and drama. Our special promotion had lots of different people in it. From the 21y.o babies to the 54y.o queen. Our asset? We all had a vision of what we wanted, contrary to most students starting university. The inconvenient? We weren’t prepared to be treated like kids and we knew how to use our voice.
Law. Management. Bookselling. Publishing. Children Lit. Literature. Creative expression. Marketing. Communication. English. History of Books. Internet History. Desktop Publishing. Sociology. E-shopping. Research. Essay. Internships…
I did it all. How? I don’t know. I like to think I’m stronger than I think. There were tears, bad days, bad mood, bad stuff. But never once did I give up. In itself, this is a massive change. I used to think if I did not work at all for a project and failed, then my abilities wouldn’t be questioned and I wouldn’t get a slap in the face telling me despite all my studies I totally sucked. I worked. Sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I failed, but I did my best. I want to remember I went through all of this! I only wish some people who stop seeing me as a frail little thing. My time in London. Five full days. No one thought I couldn’t make it, was too weak, or did not belong. No one looked at me thinking I was too vulnerable. So it makes me angry to be back in France and feel eyes staring at me as though I am not ready to take the world. I have just proved I can. And it’s only the start of it. If you suffer from an mental health, you obviously have come across people telling you you can’t do something or setting up boundaries. SET THEM ON FIRE. Not the people, the boundaries. The words. Turn your back on them and do your best. I know how are it is. Sometime I need a good slap to remind me of it. But it IS worth it.
It is supposed to have made me an amazing asset for any publisher or bookseller company.
First, health report:
Good times: enough to remember them more than the above
Overall, I managed to keep the pressure at bay, even though I felt at my best during my internships and not in class. I think I am ready to close this chapter. I don’t fit in any more. I need real work. During my good experiences, I felt ZERO anxiety while actually working, whether at the bookstore or with a publisher. My biggest anxiety trigger is the university itself. The management, the classes, the exams. I am over it.
I did learn many things and I have a few teachers to thank for it: Mr Ohl, Mrs Lux, Mr Vincent, our Mr Rodrigues, Mr Rodgers. They have made me aware of what is happening in the book industry and how to be less useless about it!
Do I feel prepared for the world of grownups and meetings and general work? Yes. But not just because of those courses. My experience with blogging has been a huge help, so has been my network. It has made the difference and sometimes has prevented me from giving up. You, reading this today (I won’t resent you if you don’t) have made it easier for me to go on, to shout out loud that I belong with my beautiful books, in any way I can. When grades and classes were too much to bear, I would find comfort with posts, comments, love from people as passionate as I am, sometimes professional people who would give me the little push I needed to keep believing.
I was luckier than most of my colleagues. I had you.
Name dropping time! None of it would have happened without my mom! Of course, she was the one setting a second alarm clock at 5am to make sure I wouldn’t be late. My mentor, model, and friend Karen Sullivan, to whom I owe so much. The Crime fiction and English book department at Mollat, who have taught me what the best booksellers look like. Anne Cater, who used to impress me so much I wouldn’t dare talk to her! Meeting you was an eye-opener and you have been the best support and such an inspiration. Kim Nash, my fantastic Bookouture Auntie. Thanks for the chats, the emails, everything.
I won’t name all my blogger friends because it is impossible, you have brought me so much over the years and especially this year. The same goes for a few authors who took their time to make me feel I was part of the world I so longed to belong to.
My poor classmates. Too many pictures of myself were taken during our farewell party last Wednesday!
Now back to the big thing. Classes are over but officially nothing is over yet. Two big exams are awaiting.
First, I must present a publishing project due for May 28th. Pitch a story I chose, show them the numbers I came up with, the sells I’m expecting, the reasons why I believe in it. Can you guess which book I picked? Or at least which publisher I chose to translate for this project? :p
Then comes my thesis/essay. How marketing and publicity strategies have changed in the publishing world and how France and UK handle it differently. It sounded cool and interesting when I picked the subject. Months later, I have the British side of my stats covered, barely anything French, and not a single page written yet, when I’m supposed to send it to my teacher in ten days and present it on May 31st. Panicking much??????
So this is why I won’t be online much until June sets me free and I get my life back, ready to go back home to the town which stole my heart for my last task as a student.
I miss you very much. I will be back to share my London life. You might see a post or two published but I’m sorry I won’t be able to visit your blogs and chat. I’ll be in number and InDesign jail!
Ps: this sounds like a I-love-myself post. It’s okay. We should love ourselves and be proud.