Most children’s first word is “mama”; mine was “book.” In preschool, as other kids scampered around Toys "R" Us, I devoured the shelves of Barnes & Noble. Some go weak in the knees at the scent of chocolate lava cake, but the new book smell has always been my aroma of choice.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed of working in the publishing world. And so, standing in the entryway of Princeton’s Career Services building at last fall's Communications & Media Meetup, I was rendered a child once more. Somewhere in the crowd, I knew, was a representative from the book publisher Simon & Schuster. Straightening my nametag, I navigated my way across the room until I found myself standing before the Simon & Schuster booth.
“Welcome! You’re my first visitor!”
Later that evening, I emailed the Simon & Schuster representative, thanking her for such a fantastic conversation and mentioning that I couldn’t wait to apply to her company’s winter internship program. A few minutes later, my inbox dinged.
“Let me slip a little note along to HR…”
One week later, I was sitting in an office in midtown Manhattan, interviewing for an editorial position with Simon & Schuster.
I didn’t wind up getting the internship that day. Instead, I walked away with something even more valuable. Midway through our conversation, my interviewer cocked her head and asked me, “Have you ever considered becoming a literary agent?”
I hadn’t. In fact, I had never even heard of the job before. And so, later that evening, I typed the words “literary agent” into Google for the first time. With childlike wonder, I watched as my laptop conjured up descriptions of a dream job I hadn't known existed.
Minutes later, I was scouring the web for internships once more.
It’s now been almost a year since my Simon & Schuster interview, and I just completed my third literary agency internship. Like the others before it, this internship provided me with endless inspiration and insight. But—at its completion—it also gave me one more thing.
A job offer.