Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
When I was a freshman at Hamilton, my mom told me to start a manifestation journal. She told me to dream big, write out specific goals, and write them in the present tense with a tone of gratitude.
“Everything you want is already yours, you just have to claim it,” she said. I thought she was a bit weird, but I did it anyway. I wrote a couple of writing goals:
- I am a poetry editor of
- I have won many prestigious writing prizes.
All of these things came true, though not exactly how I thought they would. I became a poetry editor my senior year, instead of my freshman year like I had planned. I didn’t win the exact prizes I had wanted, but the prizes I did win were far better. Everything happened, but in its own time, and in its own way.
My passion for literature extended into my professional career goals. In my freshman year, I participated in the Career Center’s First Year Forward Program. I learned about resume building, informational interviewing, and networking. I was intimidated the whole time. It was one thing to engage in literary activities on campus, but it was another to do so in the real world.
Again, I wrote my career goals:
- I have conducted three amazing informational interviews.
- I have secured a wonderful summer internship.
These dreams came true, too! Throughout my Hamilton career, I secured two internships, one at the Hannigan Getzler Literary Agency and another at the Jennifer de Chiara Literary Agency. I conducted informational interviews with three people back in 2016, and I am still in contact with them to this day! Before graduation, I added a new goal to my manifestation journal:
- I will secure a position in children’s editorial at a publishing house.
After I graduated, I continued to network, applied for jobs, and traveled to the city for interviews. But months went by, and I still was not securing a position. People suggested I widen my scope, so I applied for positions other than my dream job: marketing, publicity, adult divisions, literary agencies, etc. I was still unsuccessful. At my interviews, the energy felt off. I recounted my accomplishments, but everyone looked unimpressed. I was becoming desperate and scared, maybe they could sense that. Seven months after graduation, I took a break from interviewing, worked at an aquarium to pass the time, and re-thought my plans. I considered broadening the scope even more. Maybe I could be a teacher, bookseller, or librarian? Maybe I could still pursue my passion for literature without working in publishing.
Then, I got an email from a recruiter at HarperCollins publishing. It was a children’s editorial position — exactly what I wanted! HarperCollins is a big five publisher so it would be a very competitive position. The odds seemed stacked against me, but I decided I would operate from a space of gratitude instead of fear. Even securing an interview was a huge accomplishment, so I would try my very best and leave the rest to fate.
I dived into research to prepare for my interview. I reminded myself that I was a good candidate, and even though I hadn’t had much success thus far, those rejections didn’t define me. The minute I walked into the interview, I knew this was where I belonged. The interviewers seemed impressed by my accomplishments and appreciative of my passion for literature and publishing. The energy felt warm, light, and welcoming. I had finally found my place.
As I advanced toward the next stages of the interviewing process, I worked hard and remained cautiously optimistic. After a few weeks, I found out I got the job! I couldn’t believe it, I got the exact position I had manifested, a children’s editorial position. Now I am a part of a wonderful community at HarperCollins. My two managers are incredibly talented and I am so lucky to work with them and learn from them every day. I work on powerful books, and I am making a concrete difference in the publishing world. I am so happy with where I am now.
This outcome almost didn’t happen — I was ready to give up. But now I am working in my dream job! If you are looking for a position in publishing, here is my advice to you: network, do informational interviews, keep working hard, and don’t stress over what you cannot control. Try your very best, and believe in yourself. The position will follow.