Whether you’re a graduate student in a publishing program, an editorial assistant at a Big Five press, or an intern at a boutique literary agency, we are all expected to accommodate hours of unpaid labor, even to the detriment of our mental health. The proverbial hamster wheel that is publishing truly never stops spinning, and it’s often the most marginalized publishing professionals who reach their breaking point first.
It’s easy to let work and education overwhelm you, especially in this time of isolation we find ourselves in. There are so many things to do in the press, in classes, and in our own lives that we can lose the time we need to, well, take time. It can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, or minutes in the hours we get, to just take time for ourselves—but there are when you add boundaries.
I’ve only ever applied to two colleges in my life. Which, if you know me at all, will seem like a drastic deviance from my general personality. You might say, based on this knowledge, that I’ve “always known what I want to do” or that I’m “really good at making decisions.” The first one less than the second but really, neither apply.
The best thing about the Ooligan Press graduate program, as I am sure you are aware, is the opportunity every student has to work on and publish actual books. This experience is what helps set Ooligan apart from other programs, and it sets the students up for success. While I haven’t yet experienced how the skills learned at Ooligan can be applied to full-time publishing jobs, I can speak to how Ooligan has helped me with my time as an intern.
Ooligan Press is staffed by students in Portland State University’s graduate program in Book Publishing. With the Fall 2018 application deadline approaching on April 1, we thought it would be helpful to discuss the admissions process and give tips to prospective students.
As the halfway point of my time here at Ooligan draws near, my effort in learning and my effort in applying that knowledge has started to even out. It is in this balancing that I’ve found an experience that is unique to Ooligan Press: navigating the murky waters of career development by simultaneously being a publishing professional and a student still gaining the knowledge and experience needed to break into publishing after graduation.