Name: Paris Close
College & Maj/Min: English Literature (major)/ Writing/Journalism (double-minor)
Current Location: Pontiac, Michigan
Current Form of Employment: Contributing Writer
Where do you work and what is your current position?
I currently work as a Contributing Writer for Crushable, an awesome celebrity and entertainment website that feeds my daily giggle quota.
Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).
If we're talking actual firsts, then my first job came about during freshman year as a Barista at Aquinas College (AQ) in Grand Rapids, MI. I got a ton of closing shifts which were really popular with the "jocks," who, luckily for them, were way out of my league. But I earned my first writing job sophomore year when I worked as a reporter for the school's newspaper The Saint (or as I like to call it, the proving grounds). Before landing a spot on the Crushable team, I worked diligently with the paper, eventually earning titles like Culture Editor and Editor-in-Chief by graduation, and also interned for emcBlue and University101 during school as well. It's all been one stepping-stone journey.
What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?
Other than the internships I've held, I'd have to say my entire college experience was vital to the writing I do now. I mean, I am an English major, so I've written more than my share of articles and essays. If anything, I'd say having taken on so many creative writing courses as an undergrad was totally helpful to the work I do now. Not very often do college professors imagine an English major wanting to one day work for Us Weekly or write about the Justin Biebers of our generation. But here I am!
What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?
A wise woman once said, "Great readers make for even greater writers." And that woman is one of my most beloved mentors, Professor Vicki McMillan. I took those words to heart, mainly because it felt like a sin to dislike reading considering my major but there was something pleasant and Care Bear-like to McMillan's nature that inspired me. Not too long after, I was reading all of the time, mainly the work of Anne Sexton (my poetic warrioress) but also Annie Proulx's Close Range (which I'm currently re-reading because why not?). I was also taking a great interest in poetry and writing for the paper as well. So I'd say a combination of reading and writing has best prepped me for my writing career.
What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?
- First, recover those last four or five years of sleep you've lost cramming those essays in before your 9 a.m. but take no longer than a month to do so. Sleep long, sleep well.
- Second, take on internships (paid or not) both before and maybe even after graduation. Internships are a great way to establish your brand and reputation as an aspiring writer, so take on a few but don't overwhelm yourself.
- Lastly, be patient and give yourself time. We English majors have all been told at least once in our lives that finding work will be more than just "difficult," more like a tedious waiting period. But don't fret! Busy yourself doing something fun: start a blog, create a LinkedIn profile, and read and write everyday! Write on? Right on!