Stephen – Starting the MA

When I first started my MA in Publishing at UCLan I was filled to the brim with anxieties. In the run-up to my enrolment day, after 6 years in the teaching profession (which I will always look back fondly on and will only ever smile about), questions were racing around my mind. Was I making the right decision? Was I changing to the right career? Was I ready for university studies again after what feels like an age since my undergrad?

Well, the answer is yes. To all of those questions.

From the first lectures, every anxiety I had was comfortably thrown completely out of the window! Whether it was learning about all the current issues facing the publishing industry, understanding all of the intricacies of children’s publishing, facing the seemingly daunting yet weirdly exciting prospect of tackling an actual major publishing project or picking up new editorial skills, it was all incredibly exciting to make a start on each and every module.

As the first half term has come to its natural conclusion, and the first reading week is on its way, reflecting on how I felt just 5 weeks ago, I can’t believe I ever felt worried!

The thing that helps all of these things gel together and what really makes the course worthwhile is that UCLan has its own publishing house alongside everything. The highlight so far has been being involved in decision-making within the business and the signing of a confidentiality agreement added that extra sprinkling of excitement…

On top of that, the sheer amount of guest speakers who kindly offer up their time to come and share their experiences with us is very heartwarming. The one thing they all seem to have in common is that they know A LOT and they REALLY love sharing it all with us. One highlight so far has been Becky Chilcott joining us to talk all things design. I haven’t exactly pinned down exactly which department I’m going to pursue in publishing, but one which appeals to me the most at the moment is design, and so to hear directly from one of the experts was so incredibly valuable. Having said that, the editorial department is also one which has caught my eye, so we’ll just have to wait and see which of those two wins that inevitable battle…

All in all, it’s been a fantastic first 5 weeks. It’s a new chapter in my life, and whilst I’m only at the start of it all, I know for definite that it’s going to be a page-turner (puns COMPLETELY intended).