Search icon Looking for something?

A Constantly Changing World
2013, Q4 (December 23, 2013)
By Laura Dragonette, Carolina Communications Manager

Laura Dragonette
Laura Dragonette
Like most freshly minted college graduates, I was apprehensive - but overwhelmingly excited - to break into the real world. The career possibilities seemed as sunny and limitless as the bright May afternoon skies the day I turned my tassel. I officially held a degree in Professional Writing. I could apply these skills to a plethora of different careers. I would never call myself a political person — I was aware that the economy and the job market were not in an ideal state, but I shrugged off the idea that this difficulty would apply to me. I’ve always been very optimistic, which has been both a blessing and a curse. I applied to all kinds of different jobs simply because I could, believing that something would just fall into my lap; however, I soon came to realize that this freedom also meant a lack of focus and drive.

The world is always changing. I’m beginning to realize that in order to succeed in this employer’s market, you must be willing to adapt and do whatever it takes.
I spent many months trying to gain some sort of direction and work toward a specific goal, but the problem was that I did not have one. The various paths I could follow spread in front of me like a maze, veering and intersecting but ultimately making me feel lost. My lack of focus translated into a lack of job ... in my field, at least. Despite my attempts to stay well-rounded and chase every path, I knew that I needed to make a decision.

The day things changed was the day I received a manuscript editorial summer internship offer from Yale University Press. Book publishing was something I hadn’t seriously considered before, but it made sense! This was the perfect opportunity: I’ve always been interested in editing, and the idea of surrounding myself with books every day greatly appealed to me. I moved to New Haven a month and a half later, settling into a large vintage house with three other interns for roommates. During my internship with Yale University Press, I immersed myself in the academic environment and took advantage of as many opportunities for advice as I could. I sought and interviewed a few editors in the Acquisitions Editorial department to get advice on applying for Editorial Assistant positions. Along with the other intern in my department, I watched a member of the Design and Production department create a book cover in InDesign. I learned as much as I could in those short months.

I returned to the Triangle after spending two and a half wonderful months in New Haven. I began a part-time job as a technical editor for a medical management company, editing business proposals and PowerPoint presentations, writing cover letters and case studies, and generally helping out where I was needed. As a result, I became familiar with bits and pieces of medical jargon — valuable experience if I decide to pursue a future career in technical writing or editing for a medical company.

I have been working with STC Carolina ever since I attended the 2012 Summit two weeks after graduation. I volunteered to work on various projects during the summer and the fall, and when a position opened on the administrative council in November, I was happy to join. In February, I assumed the role of Communications Manager; many chapter members may recognize my name from the monthly announcements mailer. I am grateful to be in constant contact with so many technical communication professionals. Even during the toughest times of the past year, I didn’t feel completely disconnected from my field. I am the youngest member of the administrative council, and the newest to the STC, so my involvement has been a learning experience. Veteran members have been so helpful in guiding me in the right direction.

The world is always changing. I’m beginning to realize that in order to succeed in this employer’s market, you must be willing to adapt and do whatever it takes. This time last year, I had no idea what or where I wanted to be; I could see myself working as anything from a studio artist to a technical writer to a freelance editor. Now, I know exactly what I want, and that’s half the battle. When you find that focus, do everything in your power to make it happen. You may not end up exactly where you pictured yourself, but that doesn’t mean it’s not where you’re supposed to be. The most important thing to remember is to never give up. Remember that you’re not the only one trying to find yourself.

Heading in the right direction
I am sure that I’m headed in the right direction.

My journey has just begun. I plan to apply to Columbia’s Publishing Course for next summer and aim for an editorial job with a big New York City publishing house. In the meantime, I plan to gain as much practical work experience as I can. This is not where I pictured my life going on that sunny May graduation day, but for the first time, I am sure that I’m headed in the right direction.

Laura Dragonette can be reached at communications at stc-carolina dot org. End of article.

More articles like this...
Comments powered by Disqus.