When I tell people that I’m a native Northern Californian and a temporary Oregonian, they’re usually confused about why I’m in New Mexico.

I admit, my situation is a little unique. Heck, when I told people I was going to New Mexico for a semester, half of them thought I was going to Mexico and advised me to get my passport in order. At first I thought they just misheard me, but I’m starting to realize that an alarming number of people really believe that New Mexico is in Mexico.

So why would I want to come to a state that the other states are convinced is in another country, anyways?

To work on the staff of an award winning literary magazine, of course.

Scribendi, my Honors College Director at Southern Oregon University had told me, is a nonprofit print production that publishes creative works from undergraduates across the Western Region. (This year it’s going national.) The staff is composed entirely of UNM Honors students who select pieces through a blind jury process. Last Spring, Scribendi had an opening for their Fall 2017 staff, and they wanted to know – was anyone in the SOU Honors College interested in applying?

Um, me!

Before arriving, I had several goals in mind for my time on Scribendi: gain skills with design programs like InDesign, explore possible career options to fend off the old what-are-you-going-to-do-with-your-English-major question, and work collaboratively with other staff members in a team setting.

I’ve been in Albuquerque (try spelling that five times fast) about six weeks now. So far, Scribendi has exceeded each and every one of my possible expectations.

The magazine is incredible. Pouring through past editions, I’m amazed to see the attention to detail and overall cohesiveness. Through the works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, photography, visual art, and open media, each edition of the magazine tells a unique story. Each contains its own narrative, weaved from the complex, creative minds of students across the states.

I’m learning more than I would have ever thought possible about design and typography in the few weeks I’ve been here. Having to watch tutorial videos about how to open documents and type simple text into them is quite humbling, but I’m gaining new skills every day.

The best part about Scribendi is working with the other staff members. Scribendi is a team of intelligent, compassionate individuals who care about one another as well as the process. They have made me feel at home in their beautiful state – offering to drive me places so I can leave campus every once in a blue moon, joking about working on projects in my dorm room, and sharing laughs with me while working in the office.

Ultimately, I’m grateful – to be a part of something as awesome as Scribendi, to check out a new city and some pretty rad chile, and to work with an amazing group of people. I can’t wait to see what we can create together.