Suzanne, MA Publishing Student: Getting Back to Me

I have a degree in Languages and worked in finance for many years as a Chartered Accountant. I stopped work when my first son was born and 8 years later started to consider the idea of a career in Publishing. I have long been interested in the industry, love books and languages and am reminded every day how important literacy and books are. I subscribed to many Publishing newsletters and read up on the industry in earnest. I became convinced that this was what I want to do as everything I read was of interest to me and I was eager to learn and know more.

I applied to the MA in Publishing at Kingston University and was accepted to study part-time over 2 years. One year in, I absolutely love it. I have also completed 2 weeks work experience at a children’s publisher (arranged through the powers of networking) and I am staying on one day a week for further experience.

These are some extracts from a blog post I wrote after my first semester.

As one of only a handful of mature publishing students I am often asked about my motivation to return to studying. My friends’ reactions have been varied and colourful. Some think I am ‘crazy’ to be studying so hard with 3 young boys (9, 7 and 4). Others consider me ‘brave’, and some ‘lucky’ to be able to change career direction at this stage in my life.

Am I crazy?

It does feel a little mad for sure as days are often hectic and I feel stretched by the many demands of Uni and life with busy children. I have still to find a perfect life/work balance. I know I should be working as hard as I can when the boys are at school but I sometimes find this hard as I’m ‘not in the mood’ after a rushed school run.

I try to plan for down-time to get the numerous jobs done to clear my head for concentrated study. I am studying part-time over two years and trying to keep realistic in my expectations although I really want to do well on the course.

I can look back with a real sense of achievement when I consider how much I’ve learnt already. The emphasis on practical application is immensely beneficial. I also enjoy the publishing Masterclasses presented by industry specialists where we get to hear how it really is.

Am I brave?

Well, I suppose that turning my back on my previous career is a little brave. And of course, the road into publishing is less obvious for students with the ‘life experience’ that I have. But, in today’s publishing industry where it’s all about the margins, I’ll put that accounting (and life) experience to good use. And who knows, maybe I’ll get to use my languages too.

Am I lucky?

Absolutely! I am extremely lucky to be studying a subject I find endlessly fascinating.In my career break of nine years I have had time to sit back and think clearly about my future. Returning to the workforce was always a given although I do not regret, in any way, taking time off to be with the boys. It has been a delight and privilege to be there to see them grow, but it is now time to ‘get back to me’.

So yes, I am crazy, brave and lucky and very very busy… but happy too!