It takes guts. Just showing up can be a challenge. Lacing up a set of wheels and stepping out onto that track is downright embarrassing. For first few days, I wobbled around the rink debating whether I had it in me. I had never been a good skater as a child and was certainly no better as a twenty‐three year old. Yet, here I stand, officially a member of one of the fast growing sports in America. Roller derby is both physically and mentally taxing. Deciding to tryout required more than bravery. The best derby girls are students of the sport; those who constantly learn about new advances and techniques, teach each other, and push their bodies to the limit. It is not for the fainthearted, but that can be said about many situations. Nearly four years after graduating with my heart dead set on a career in Marketing, I have realized working in a field I am passionate about is more important than just being employed. A career change can be daunting but is really no different from taking those first few steps on wheels. It is the very moment I realize something terrifies me that I recognize I have to do it. Just as I jumped from a plane alone; just as I bounced from hostel to hostel overseas; now as I wonder and worry if I am cut out for the world of publishing, I need to push myself to that uncomfortable position. The fact is, the publishing field is competitive, fast paced, and ever advancing. Just like roller derby, it will take more than just guts.

Written for application to the Columbia Publishing Course graduate program
Colleen M. Riordan – March 2011

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