Two weeks before the end of my junior year at Franciscan University, I made the call to the managing editor of Quarto Publishing Group, finalizing my internship for the summer. I would be traveling to Beverly, Massachusetts, less than an hour north of Boston, to work in the editorial department of a major nonfiction publisher, which is exactly what I hoped to do after graduation. As an English major with a writing concentration, I was about to live the dream. And yeah, I was a little nervous about being on my own in a city 13 hours from my home, but for the actual internship itself, I was ready.
That I even got a prestigious publishing internship is a testament to the quality of Franciscan’s English program and the many opportunities to grow as a writer on campus. I had transferred from a community college the year before, learning more about the craft of writing in my single year at Franciscan than I had in all the years previous. Every new detail of what “editorial intern” really meant convinced me that I was right for this job.
Competitor research for projects in acquisitions? Thanks to Dr. Frank Hermann’s Advanced Composition class, I could do research like nobody’s business. Checking second proofs against original copy, or proofreading, or editing according to Chicago style? Those were details I’d mastered while working with Career Services, editing resumes. And obviously there would be writing—writing back cover copy for real, printed books! Thanks to The Troubadour, our school newspaper, I could write the kind of brief and engaging copy that publishers need to attract customers.
At Quarto, I got to hold actual hard copy manuscripts in full color. I got to put red pen to self-help books for moms, gluten-free cookbooks, and PVC pipe craft books. The editorial manager gave me marketing packages, and from these I chose the most important information to transform into an attractive back cover. By the end of my internship, the managing editor was so confident in my abilities that he gave me a series of gardening books for kids to edit myself, to mess up or make great. I was a project manager, living just outside Boston in a studio apartment, and reading books was my job.
After such a great summer, why did I have to go back to school?
No, that’s actually a joke. A bad one, maybe.
In complete honesty, I had never been more excited for school than I was returning to Franciscan my senior year.
Writing for The Troubadour is fun and exciting. Gathering in the small office—which actually belongs to the Students for Life club—I hear about everything, from talks by Audrey Assad to new restaurants opening in town. As a student writer for Franciscan’s Marketing and Communications Department, I write press releases, caption photo displays, and occasionally run around campus, interviewing students and faculty.
But really, this is what I do. I’m an English major, and I write a lot, but I also get to go a lot of fun places and meet a lot of fun people while I do.
As I started my senior year, it really hit me how much I enjoy being an English major at Franciscan University. As an English major, I have something to say, and I want to say it. As a Franciscan English major, I have something to say, and I get to say it. I’m encouraged to write the truth and I’m pushed to master the craft. That’s a big deal, because as a Franciscan student, I believe there’s no use writing something if it’s not the truth. It’s also a big deal because as a writer, I believe there’s no use writing anything if it’s not written well.
I’m getting there. I’m confident that since Franciscan has gotten me into publishing once, the lessons and experiences I continue to have will help me secure a job in publishing after college. But no matter what, whether I go into acquisitions editing or something else entirely, I’ll always remember what Dr. David Craig told my Contemporary Christian Poetry class: “The Spirit is generous.”
I’ve learned that it’s possible to speak the truth and say it well, whatever your calling, because the Spirit really is generous.