Back in September 2014, my inaugural semester as a VIU student, I submitted work to the Navigator for the first time: a poem about fishing with an accompanying photograph. On the one hand, I was excited at the opportunity to have my first-ever poem published. Before I had even submitted, I daydreamed about seeing my name in print and sending a couple of copies home to my family in Saskatchewan.

On the other hand, I was nervous about the dreaded two letter ‘N’ word, and what rejection would feel like only a few weeks into my university career. Would having my work turned away be too much of a sting to recover from? About a week after I sent in my submission via email, I received a reply, “Yes, we’d love to publish your two pieces in our ‘Odds & Ends’ section on page 22”.

My daydreams became a reality; I had my first poem published, I saw my name in print (successfully spelt “Spenser” and not “Spencer”), and I sent a small stack of Navigators to my family in the prairies. And then, it got even better. My mom showed the poem to one of her friends who worked at SKY Magazine: Living Well in Saskatchewan, and they published it on their website.

I was so proud of my little poem and photograph. After working for the Nav last year, I’ve learned the odds of my work getting rejected that fateful fall were pretty much zero. But, in many ways, that’s beside the point. As a writer, being published in the Nav was a big confidence booster. I submitted more work to the newspaper throughout my first year and, in April 2015, had my first feature published. It’s also been an incredible asset on my resume. Over the past two summers, I’ve held two writing-centric jobs that I might not have gotten without having Nav articles under my belt.

I encourage you, the student, staff, faculty, or alumni, to lend your vibrant voice to our newly formed magazine. While we’ve changed formats, the opportunities are even greater than before. From publishing videos to short fiction, essays to visual art, there’s always place for your work at the Navigator.