Getting Published with Holy Cross’ Help

Hello again!

I hope that everyone had a nice, restful break back home, and are adjusting well with their new schedules. My classes all seem like they will be interesting, so I’m excited about taking those. While it’s a lot of fun being a senior, however, there’s definitely a bittersweet aspect to it.

Fortunately, the semester began with some great news. On the last day of January, an essay I wrote junior year was published in the newest volume of a peer-reviewed literary journal for undergraduate scholarship. You can read it online here! It’s been a long process: I sent the essay in for consideration mid-January 2023, before I went abroad, and I spent the better part of the year working with the journal team editing the essay. For this blog post, I’d like to focus on the various ways in which members of the Holy Cross community helped me along the way.

The original assignment’s parameters were any topic we wanted to write about, as long as we received approval from the professor before writing it. As an English major who is also interested in creative writing, I appreciated the opportunity to be creative while still being analytical and citing academic sources. It was one of my best experiences writing a paper, but I never considered having it be published somewhere. I figured, if it’s for class, then it’s for class. However, my teacher gave me great feedback, and recommended I find a student journal to send it to, which was immediately an exciting prospect for me.

After finals, I remained at home until mid-February before I left for my semester abroad. Even though I wasn’t on campus, I was still able to be in contact with several members of the English Department and ask them advice on which publications I should take my essay to. I brought my search up at the end of a meeting on something entirely unrelated with one of the professors, and she was kind enough not only to voluntarily read my essay, but to send me potential journals over the following few days. I ended up submitting it to one of the journals she recommended! That professor is no longer at Holy Cross, but I still remember the generosity and help she gave me, even though I was never in one of her classes.

Even when I went abroad, I was still able to receive assistance from Holy Cross. I booked a virtual appointment with one of the Writing Workshop assistants, which you can learn more about here! I had done such appointments a couple times previously, but obviously never from a sixteen-hour time difference. Although I had to wake up for an 8:30am video call, it was quite worth it. The consultant was a student who had been in my class, so he had an intimate awareness of the prompt and the material, and he made several valuable suggestions. I also used a similar writer’s consultant service at my university abroad, and that ended up being extremely helpful, too.

Getting published with an undergraduate journal was an amazing opportunity and I learned a lot from the experience. It really polished my writing and editing skills, as well as my collaborative skills receiving feedback and communicating with a team of people I never actually met. In terms of Holy Cross, it allowed me to realize how dedicated the Holy Cross faculty and students are in helping us find and pursue new opportunities. The help of several people and services on the Hill were invaluable to getting this piece published.

My experience working with the undergrad journal staff inspired me to become involved with the literary publications on campus in my final year at Holy Cross. This semester, I will be serving as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Criterion literary journal; Chief Features Editor of the Spire student newspaper; and Associate Editor for the Purple poetry magazine. It’s definitely a lot on my plate, but I can’t wait to get to work on all of them.

Until next time!