I was finally doing what I loved in my classes: writing. I took poetry and fiction workshops, Greek mythology, Shakespearean studies, young adult literature, children fables, drama and much more. I loved every moment.
During my workshops, I realized I really enjoyed editing and critiquing other writers’ works. I thought maybe I could be an editor if I didn’t find success as a novelist.
I landed the position as the administrative assistant and editorial assistant supervisor for Saranac Review the spring semester of my freshman year. Saranac Review is an international literary journal published by the English department on campus.
I also began editing my friends’ papers and came to the realization that it was more frustrating than I had thought. I don’t like to boast about myself or degrade my generation, but I was appalled by my peers’ lack of proper grammar usage and writing techniques.
Editing wasn’t for me, to say the least.
Then spring semester of my sophomore year came along. I was taking a writing fiction workshop where we focused on writing a short story for the whole semester with multiple drafts. I wrote the short story “Stability.” I received a lot of great feedback and constructive criticism.
However, I realized that becoming a novelist was just a dream; a dream that I could not reach; a dream of from which I would not be able to make a living.
I had to give my dream up.
I freaked out. What was I supposed to do now? What will I do for the rest of my life? I still need a bachelor’s degree to be somewhat successful in life. What was I going to major in now?
These thoughts and questions were swirling through my mind until I found help at SUNY Plattsburgh’s Career Development Center.
I went to them at least twice a week for a month taking personality and aptitude tests and consulting about what my next step was.
I was pointed toward the Department of Public Relations. At first, I didn’t really know what PR was, just that it involved writing and people skills, both of which I possess.
So I filled out the necessary paperwork to change majors but made sure my English writing arts major wasn’t fully wasted. I used 18 of those credits towards an English minor.
I started my PR major by fulfilling the prerequisites, which included public speaking. I fell in love with public speaking. It gave me the confidence that I now hold in speaking to a large group.
I was still working for Saranac Review at the time, so I was also able to maintain my love for literature by working in the department.
My first immersed PR course I took was also with my academic advisor, Professor Colleen Lemza. She sparked my interest in the field with her enthusiasm and great stories of her experience. With PR, I was able to really make a difference in people’s lives with my writing, which, in the end, was what I always wanted.
I undoubtedly believe that without Colleen’s passion for PR, I would have second-guessed my major choice. She helped me find the passion I now have for PR.
Saranac Review gave me the experience as a valued leader in a publication, while the PR department gave me the great knowledge and enthusiasm of the industry.
Look for the third part coming soon. Haven’t read the first? Be a part of my journey here.