No longer drifting

There’s a scene in “The Graduate” where Dustin Hoffman is lounging on an inner tube in his family pool after finishing his degree, and his father casts a shadow over him and asks what he thinks he’s doing. Dustin Hoffman responds, “Well, I would say that I’m just drifting. Here in the pool.” As a soon-to-be college graduate polishing off the final months of my degree, I took it as a bad sign that a conversation between a tanned Dustin Hoffman and Mr. Feeny spoke to me on a personal level. I had to ask myself, what comes next? Where does this all lead?

I came to Heyday with one main objective–to see if I could turn my English degree into a job in the book business. I hadn’t had any experience in publishing, I just knew that I liked books, they tended to like me, and drifting in my parents’ pool after graduation wasn’t an option. I came looking for some kind of bearing for what was at the time a very indefinite future. I interviewed in the fall and was told that a position wouldn’t open until the following spring, but if I wanted it I could have it. I accepted my future position and spent the meantime plotting a course.

I spent my meantime well. I applied to graduate school and looked more into what life after college entailed. By the time I arrived at Heyday for my first day on the job, I had been accepted. So I started my internship with quite a bit more certainty than when I had first interviewed, but with my main objective to learn as much about publishing as possible intact. I learned a lot of things, ranging from how to put together a mailing and how to fight an evil folding machine to how to write pitch letters and inform the public about next season’s books. I got to see big projects like New California Writing take off and watch how much excitement it created around the office. I got to work with some great people who really cared about their job and loved publishing books that mattered to them and California.

I can say with confidence that I am no longer drifting–at least not as much as I thought. With my future becoming a little more definite each day, I can end my undergraduate life and my internship with a bit more confidence. I don’t know if I will return to publishing after graduate school, but I can say that I’ve learned some important lessons about working with a community, marketing, and postage. Even if I don’t wind up in publishing, I’ve still learned a lot of important skills that I know I will take with me far into my semi-definite future. Heyday motivated me to stop drifting and take charge of my course.