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Kerry McShane, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014–15

October 21st, 2014 | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Kerry McShane, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014–15
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It all started with a single book. I couldn’t put it down. Every moment that I could spare, I had that book in my hands. I would watch the clock at work, eager to be back home and immersed in those pages once again. I had never been so affected by a book, but I just couldn’t get enough. That book was Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. The book is notoriously difficult to describe, but it has just about anything you could ever want in a story. Romance, politics, history, action and more—all set in the Scottish highlands, a world away from my home in Ogden, Utah.

I had long dreamed of visiting Scotland, but I suddenly wanted more than a vacation. I wanted to live in Scotland, to be part of it. I know it sounds a bit clichéd, but it really isn’t. I didn’t come here expecting cattle raids, kilts, and haggis as far as the eye could see, but I did expect to find history, peaceful countryside, and kind people. I’ve found everything I expected and more. As a good friend of mine put it, Scotland is magic.

As for how I decided to study publishing, that was mostly by chance. In 2012, I started researching postgraduate offerings at universities across Scotland. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to study, but I wanted something practical to complement my English undergraduate degree. I wanted to study for a master’s that would teach me skills that I could apply directly to a career. As I scrolled through the list of courses on the University of Stirling website, the MLitt in Publishing Studies immediately stopped me. Publishing? Why had I never thought of that before? It was the perfect career to combine my affinity for books and my habit of correcting poor grammar! (Ok, that is a very simplified version of the thoughts running through my mind, but you get the idea.) From that moment, everything I did was in an effort to make it here.

I began by serving as the Editor-in-Chief of my alma mater’s undergraduate research journal.  Then, I changed my course plan to include classes in Adobe programs such as InDesign and Photoshop. But most importantly, I worked as an editorial intern and later as an editorial assistant with Gibbs Smith, Publisher. I can’t recommend that enough. Start internships as early as you can. Not only will it help you decide if publishing is right for you, but it will prepare you for further study better than any amount of reading ever will.

So, after a lot of dreaming, planning and working, I made it. My studies are just as fascinating as the country, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store over the next year. If you’d like to see what I’m up to, you can follow me on Twitter @kerrberr_books.