The first trimester at Edinburgh Napier University is over, and a time for reflection is upon us. With Christmas just around the corner it’s hard to believe that just fifteen weeks ago all this was new, and no-one had the slightest clue what a nested style was meant to be. I hadn’t known quite what to expect when I first entered the Merchiston building, but I certainly wasn’t prepared for just how intense the course would be. We were really thrown in at the deep end with this one. From Networking to InDesign, report writing and editing, there was hardly any time before we were expected to become well versed in these things. How far we have come.
Even on the first day, Networking was drilled into us. We were encouraged to go around the room, talk to our course-mates, find out key things about them, and note down what we had in common with one another. This is perhaps one of the most vital tools in any publisher’s belt. The ability to make connections with other, more experienced professionals helps to build up a successful career full of lots of people on your side. Throughout the trimester, we’ve had lots of opportunities to exercise these networking muscles. From the very first week SYP events and talks were held where we were encouraged to interact with speakers and panellists afterwards, including the first social at Akva and the SYP 6 x 6 with PublishED. I have to admit, I would not have considered doing any of these things if I had decided to go straight into getting a job without doing a degree first. I would have been perfectly happy applying for things from the safety of my room instead of doing the much more productive thing and getting out there to talk to people- a thing which, if you are a hopeless introvert like me, is really quite terrifying. I wouldn’t even be using Twitter, my profile being left an empty wasteland with tumbleweed occasionally making its way across the screen. Once you started, though, talking to people doesn’t seem so hard. After all, they’re just people. Nothing scary will happen from a simple conversation you might even get some helpful pointers. And with interesting guest lecturers every other week, there was plenty of opportunity to get to know just how complex the publishing industry actually is.
Now to talk about the thing that had students ripping their hair out in frustration: InDesign. Now that I actually know what I’m doing, I quite enjoy messing around on the programme and creating new things. You can create a whole book and change every style with just a few clicks. However, if you don’t know how to operate it, the thing can be a nightmare. Still there are some times when I don’t know what the hell I did wrong, but I am a lot better at it than I was at the start of the year. I can even create a somewhat professional looking spread without too much effort. I remember a time when talking about Master Pages and Running Heads would fill my head with dread and I would collapse into a rocking ball at the thought of having to create them on my own. Now I can set up a document in less than ten minutes, no fuss. Funny to think how just a little bit of knowledge can make things so much less daunting.
Things have certainly changed in these three short months. I have developed more understanding of what sort of work I would be doing if I got a job in publishing, and learnt so many different skills already. It’s all been really fun so far and I can’t wait to see what next trimester has in store.