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My Journey Of Deciding What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Millersville chapter.

For as long as I can remember, I have been a writer and a reader. My parents read me stories until and after I could read on my own, I finished chapter books at the speed of light, I was sad when I fell out of touch with reading, and now I have a giant bookcase in my room filled with some of my favorite stories as well as an enormous TBR list. I have stacks of printer paper stapled together with stories written in crayon and fake copyright dates of 2009 in the front, and file after files of half completed or completed pieces saved to my Google Drive.

And it was up until tenth grade that I thought I was going to major in English. When I was sitting in my tenth grade English class, I made a swift decision that I didn’t like English class, therefore why should I pay to study it for four years? So, without really considering it all that much, I decided to change the major I was intending to pursue to Communications, with the idea that I could still write, just in a different way. In my defense, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do with my English degree at the time either.

When I started college, I started taking my Communications classes, and while I did enjoy them, I found myself daydreaming of writing creatively at almost any point I could get. I browsed my school’s minor options, and found that we had one in Creative Writing and Publishing. I immediately applied to be accepted into the minor, and within a few weeks I had officially declared it. 

When I actually arrived on campus in the Fall of 2021 after spending my first year of college at home, I went through a slight crisis of major. I was spending hours doing what I liked to refer to as “credit math”, looking back and forth between my degree audit, major requirements for a few different programs, and minor requirements. I was debating changing my concentration in the Communications department from Communication Studies to Public Relations, I was debating switching my major entirely to English Writing Studies, and I was trying to figure out how long it would take me to graduate if I tried to complete both majors. In the end, I settled on changing absolutely nothing, and I will be graduating this December with that Communications degree (well, the updated version of that concentration) and the Creative Writing and Publishing minor.

I never disliked Communications. I thought the classes were interesting and I was gaining a lot of knowledge that I can absolutely use no matter what field I end up going into. I like my professors and the way the classes are set up. I’ve just had this nagging pull towards my minor, and how I would love to pursue that as a career.

I think, sometimes, in my brain Communications feels like the safer bet. That degree has a lot of different options of fields to go into, and a lot of different skills that can be used for a variety of jobs. It is hard to make it professionally as a writer, even harder to be financially stable in doing so. The publishing field, however, does include many different opportunities. English itself is a great degree choice with a lot of different opportunities!

Last spring, when I was a sophomore, I took a class called Editing for Publication. This class ended up changing the course for the rest of my life (and no, that isn’t really dramatic). When I was in this class, we had the opportunity to learn all about the publishing process and the field, and we even had the opportunity to complete some editing for a journal on campus ourselves. It was in this class that I realized that I would love to do this for the rest of my life.

Things fell into place a little bit more as the semester ended. My campus has two different journals that we publish, and the one that works through the fall was hiring interns for this past fall semester. I applied, and was hired as an intern. All of last fall, I was working on the journal, getting experience with the publication process. I was the Marketing and Outreach Specialist, so I was also helping to create marketing materials, running the social media accounts, and helping to create marketing plans. That was all in addition to getting to further understand the publishing process and getting opportunities to edit.

This spring, I got the opportunity to stay on for the journal I had worked on in the editing class, and am currently in the midst of that process now. These two internships have helped me to feel confident in where I want to go as a career, and I am definitely grateful for the chance to have been able to find my calling.

I like to joke that it is a full circle moment, because I am looking to do what I’ve loved to do since I was little, it just took me a long time to get here. But, looking back, I think this was always the right fit. I was the one my friends asked to read over their papers. I write for Her Campus and have published with one of the journals already (and will be doing so again this semester). I was always looking for opportunities to help with anything relating to writing or publishing.

My biggest dream is still to publish something creative of my own. While I am always shy to admit this, I do have a 83,000 word book sitting in my Google Drive. I guess my next steps from here would be actually letting someone read it. I plan to start a blog soon about my travels, because I think travel writing is really cool and I love to explore new places. I am going to keep writing whenever I have the time, whether it ever sees the light of day or not.

I am looking into grad programs in Creative Writing and Publishing to help me get some more experience, and always am keeping an eye out for further opportunities. But, until I get to that point, you’ll always find me writing here! :)



Katherine McLaughlin

Millersville '23

Katie is currently completing her last semester at Millersville University, with a major in Digital Communication and Cultural Studies and a minor in Creative Writing and Publishing. Katie loves listening to music, traveling, riding rollercoasters, reading, hanging out with friends, family, and her dog, and writing for fun!