When the COVID-19 pandemic sent us all back to our hometowns in March of 2020, there was a lot of confusion and uncertainty.
During that time, I had just started a new job in Eau Claire and I was finally finding a groove in balancing my class and work schedule.
That was all thrown out the window when a two week spring break turned into a full transition to online classes.
I packed up what I could fit in the back of my car and headed back to my hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin.
Without a job at the time but with a lot of free time on my hands I discovered a small community on the popular social media app Tik Tok. This small community, referred to as ‘Booktok’ offered book recommendations and reviews.
Having more free time than usual and nowhere to go because of quarantine, I decided to give what seemed like the most popular book recommendation a try.
I was like most kids growing up when it comes to reading. I loved “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “The Hunger Games,” but never got fully invested in reading.
I finished my first book in about a week and was really interested in its storyline and characters. I decided I would give reading a try and ordered the rest of the books in the trilogy.
Since around April of 2020 I have read almost 40 books from 30 different authors. I fell in love with the escapism and different ways characters can grow and change throughout a journey.
When I decided to be an integrated strategic communications major with a minor in sociology, I had no idea where that was going to take me.
I didn’t really have any specific career interests or aspirations, but I liked creating and writing advertisements, and knew communications could be broad enough to get me where I wanted to be.
Realizing that graduation is only a year away, I decided I needed to start looking for potential internships for the summer or fall. I came across an internship in Harper Collins Publishing and decided to do more research.
After reading descriptions and articles about what jobs are available in the publishing industry, I decided that this was not just a phase in life but something I was truly passionate about and wanted to pursue as my career.
After I graduate in May of 2022, I hope to work in a publishing house as an editor or as a literary agent for publishing companies.
I acknowledge this pandemic has been incredibly hard for so many people. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost and the loss of jobs and resources has taken a tremendous toll on many individuals.
It is important to recognize I had the privilege to move back home and have a secure life to return to. I also believe these unfortunate circumstances have brought people closer together and opened doors for new opportunities.
I am grateful for the personal growth I experienced during this time and continue to do what I can to stop the spread and bring an end to this pandemic. I encourage everyone to wear a mask in public spaces and get vaccinated if you are able.
Shanahan can be reached at [email protected]