I was extremely nervous returning to education. Publishing is similar to much of what takes place in the music and events industry – the difference is the production and audience. It felt to be a natural pursuit. I was excited and terrified. Being an older student with industry experience, I should have had a bedrock of confidence behind me, but it really wasn’t the case. It is intimidating stepping into a room of fiercely academic twenty year olds, especially when it was ten years since I had last written an essay. I was fully out of my comfort zone. All I had to do was show up and do my best. 

The Bridge magazine project really spoke to me. Its purpose was to inform and offer practical help for vulnerable-homeless living. The ethos which emerged was dignity, identity and community. Production and editorial design was fully moving forward with the appropriate team members taking on their chosen roles, and I facilitated where I was needed. I realised I was consolidating skills I already possessed and it seemed appropriate to step aside. That opportunity offered a strong learning experience, not least of all, I was able to work with and get to know classmates I hadn’t reached out to before. There was a chance to share a common appreciation for design and typography with one team member, the actor Henry Cavill from Witcher with another, and I also got to know someone who knew about my club nights from my days as a promoter and we shared our love for music and djs intermittently throughout the project. It gave me the confidence to branch out a little and try to talk to more of my classmates. I had missed out on a lot of what could have been positive encounters. I began forcing myself to sit nearer the front of the class, sharing and learning skills from other peers. It seemed I was becoming more productive and focussed, and I started to think about print production and how publishing houses will be looking closer to home for print partnerships now. 

In short, my experience as co-project manager with The Bridge magazine project had reinvigorated my outlook. I approached the director Nikki Simpson from The International Magazine Centre about the mentorship, and even pitched the idea of a ‘Zine Summer School’ involving Intercultural Youth Scotland. IYS had learned about my own BME magazine project and approached me about hosting workshops with their Womens Youth Group to learn about market profiles, dissecting the visual grammar of a magazine cover, and discussing role models. I’d even gained the courage to apply to the Society of Young Publishers Scotland and became Mentorship Scheme Lead for 2020.  

It’s easier to stick to what you know and to stay safe, I think I had been doing that for quite some time. Capabilities seem to emerge all the more when you step outside of what might feel steady and solid, but to progress you have to be brutally honest with yourself. Why am I here? Should I even be here? Can I do this? Surely I should first ask myself, ‘What do I want?’ Well, what everyone else wants, stability, income, fulfillment? These last few months have forced me to really look at myself and make sincere choices. However I move forward now I choose to be more open to experiences and opportunity, but more importantly, reach out more to peers and colleagues. Commonality can lead to skill sharing, idea building, collaborations and friendship.