End of Term Two/Middle of Term Three | The Road to Librarianship

It’s been a really long time since I’ve written about school. Actually, it’s been a really long time since I’ve written period. About two months to be exact. 
It’s been a really hard few months for me, and I’m just now starting to feel like I’m getting back to normal… kind of. 

My anxiety is at an all time high and that’s largely due to some personal and professional circumstances that I’d rather not go into. The main reason for mentioning it is because it’s also affecting my drive to be in school. I just… kind of… don’t care about school anymore. I even considered dropping out. (Spoiler alert: I’m not going to because I still love it; it’s just been hard!) 

So, let’s talk about my second term first. 
In my second term of library school, I took two classes: Principles of Management for Information Professionals and Literacy Through School Libraries. 

When the term started, I was most nervous about the Management class. I thought I was going to hate it because it sounded like an add on to a lot of material I learned over the course of my time in the Navy. As it turns out, I actually really loved this class! 

First of all, my instructor was awesome. His feedback on my assignments actually gave a lot of insight about what I could do to improve on the following assignment which I totally appreciated. He was also really understanding and let me miss a night of class without penalizing me when my 5 year old came home from a two week vacation at my dad’s house. 

The class offered a lot of creative outlet through assignments which really helped me retain the information and the textbook is actually one I looked forward to reading each week! 

I hit one small snag in submitting an assignment, but my teacher reached out to me and didn’t take points off for lateness because it was a technical issue. I ended up walking away from the class with an A+, which helped boost my GPA! 

Literacy Though School Libraries was my elective. I selected it because Youth Services was full! I wasn’t excited about this class, but I looked forward to it more than Management because I want to work in a Youth department when I graduate. Here’s the truth: I really disliked this class. 

With a focus on School Libraries, this course is obviously geared more toward School Media Specialists. I made it work and enjoyed working on my assignments – which all pooled together to create a really nice portfolio at the end. The assignments included writing lesson plans, individualized lessons, and a program. Obviously my favorite part was working on the program! 

The reason I disliked this class so much is it always ran late. I understand the occasional late night, but when it became an every week thing, it really started to wear me down. It was especially difficult because my children were still awake during the class period and I wanted it to end so I could spend some time with them before bedtime. 

I ended up with an A+ in this class too! Which was a surprise because I really didn’t feel like I gave it my all (I missed class more than once and waited til the last minute to work on projects). 

When the term ended, I was happy with my outcomes and not feeling discouraged. I was so ready for my third term. 

Which brings us to my middle of term three update. 

This term, I’m taking the Youth Services class (YAY) and a core requirement – Information Resources: Organization and Access.

So far, my Youth Class is rocking! I’ve written two papers – a Genre Study on Dystopian Fiction (that I got 100 on) and I just submitted a Book Talk assignment. 

My dystopian paper focused on the history and included an annotated bibliography of titles I consider exemplary. All of my titles were YA. I’m thinking about turning this assignment into a series on this blog because I honestly had so much fun working on it! 

The second assignment was a Book Talk assignment – I chose to go with little kids for this and write my paper and learning segments on Women Making History. So my talks were on five books that feature women in history. It was really fun and I am looking forward to giving my book talk to my class. 

This class rocks because there are only seven students. I love small classes because it allows for more natural discussion in our live session each week. We’ve also been assigned Book Talk Buddy’s and mine is also a Lady Veteran! 

Organization and Access is an actual nightmare for me!

I like the class, don’t get me wrong. It’s just so. damn. hard. I don’t get it!! 

Metadata, MARC, RDA, OCLC!! It’s all gibberish to me. The good news is, my instructor is a really fair grader and she gives you credit for trying. She also doesn’t take away full points (my biggest fear in a class that’s only worth 100 points) for mistakes. It’s more like tenths of a point. 

I feel like I’m learning a lot, but it’s still really hard for me at this point in the course. I’m hoping that the switch flips soon and I get the hang of everything. 

So what’s next? 

When this term ends, I’m planning on taking my last two core requirements in term four and then term five will be two electives. My final term, I plan to dedicate to my last elective and my internship. 

The biggest appeal to Syracuse’s LIS program is that I have to obtain an internship to graduate. It gives me hope that I’ll be able to find a job more efficiently if I have the internship under my belt. 

Oh! One last tidbit about what’s coming up for me! 

It’s now time to consider when to go to Immersion Weekend (another graduation requirement). Immersion is not offered in Winter, I can’t go in Summer (because of work), and Fall will be too late for me… which means I have to go to Spring Immersion. This year, Spring Immersion isn’t on Campus. It’s in New York City which means I get to make a trip to New York for school. This is thrilling to me because I’ve never been to NYC before! 

In the meantime, I’ll be over here chugging through my coursework and reading. 

Here’s to finishing Term Three strong! 
(and hopefully posting more on here). 

End of First Term | The Road to Librarianship Pt. 2

I’ve fallen a little behind in updating on graduate school. I mean, let me be totally honest here… it’s actually A LOT more than I thought when I enrolled. Let’s break it down a little bit.

IST 511 or Intro to the Library Profession

This was a standard introductory course, but I actually loved it. I only had a few assignments, mostly thought pieces, so those were relatively easy. And most of the coursework was watching various videos (and TedTalks) and responding to the opinion and thought questions provided inside of the forums.

The real work was a group (read: partner) research project. This was actually really fun for me because I got to pick from a list of topics and my partner was actually incredible. During this research project I learned a lot about The Internet of Things (which is actually cool and so creepy) and it was really fun conducting the research and presenting to my classmates.

And then there was the absolute nerve-wrecking experience of giving a speech during the last class. The prompt? You’ve bumped into the hiring manager for your chosen workplace in the elevator. Pitch yourself within a minute to a minute and a half. This was awful for me for several reasons. I don’t like talking in front of people (even though I do it weekly) and I don’t like bragging about myself in front of people. Basically that was the assignment and I almost cried from relief when it was over.

Overall, this was my favorite class during first term. It was fun and my classmates were wonderful and the instructor is probably one of the most encouraging people I’ve ever met.

As far as grades go, I’m going to brag about myself (contradicting my previous sentiments) and tell you that I got a 99.25% in this class by missing 1 point total over the course of 11 weeks! I loved this one.

IST 605 or Reference and Information Literacy Services

Starting out with the good – I learned a lot in this class. It was interesting to see different kinds of inquiries I might encounter as the reference desk librarian. I enjoyed practicing reference interviews with my classmates and I enjoyed working on my massive portfolio that was the main focus of this course.

Here’s the problem – the whole class, in its entirety, was worth a grand total of 100 points. This left little room for error.

Basically, the class was broken down into different segments of the portfolio. Every week or so there was a draft of a specific section of the final portfolio due. For example, the first draft due was of the reference transaction transcript. It was nice to turn these drafts in because the instructor was able to provide feedback to help get you through to the final.

My favorite part of this class was the research. God, I sound like such a frickin nerd. It was fun researching because I knew that my husband – I based my reference scenario around him – would be able to use my research someday when he starts his business.

Anyway, my portfolio ended up being 53 pages. It was legitimately (no joke) single spaced too. I, again, almost cried from relief when I turned it in.

This class brought my GPA down from a 4.0. I didn’t do as well on the portfolio as I had hoped and I missed a love class because of an unexpected head cold. In all, I lost a total of 7 points in this class which brought my grade down to a 93%. This, unfortunately, is an A- by Syracuse’s grading scale.

First Term is finished though!

I was a nervous wreck my entire first term. I had major anxiety about all of my coursework, largely the portfolio for 605. I contemplated dropping out while waiting for my instructors to submit my final grades because I just didn’t feel smart enough to be among all of the smart people in my classes.

So I really beat myself up first quarter. For no reason really. This is a form of anxiety for me, but I’m pressing forward. It’s still too early in the game for me to find an internship or job in a library, but I’m hopeful that by the end of third term I can.

It’s now the end of the second week of second quarter for me. I’m in a Management class and another literacy class (this one focuses on children). So far, so good but I’ll be talking about these classes more in depth around week 8. 🙂

Let’s chat!

School anxiety is such a real thing for me. It’s cyclical too. I sit in my office and think nonstop about grades and classes and when the term ends I switch to new teachers and new classmates and spiral out of control. Is there anyone else out there in the same boat as me? How do you cope? I’m honestly trying everything I can think of, but it’s so hard sometimes to come out of that funk.

Thanks for reading!

PS – I am already UNBELIEVABLY busy and term is only two weeks in. Send help.

A Balancing Act | The Road to Librarianship Pt. 1

It’s time for my monthly discussion of grad school aptly titled The Road to Librarianship! This is technically going to be my first post in this series so I wanted to spend time discussing how I manage my time in this one. It might be boring, it might be thrilling. Stay tuned!

The Work Week

My typical work week consists of working 40 hours in an office. Monday through Friday, I can be found at a desk on a base plugging away at my computer. I process a ton of paperwork, but there’s often downtime. During my downtime, I can be found reading articles for grad school (or even my textbook) but sometimes I manage to sneak in some pleasure reading time.

My boss is currently pretty awesome in that so long as you’re getting your work done, he doesn’t mind how you use your spare time (i.e. downtime waiting for more work!). Things are absolutely going to change because I did just get a promotion! I’ll definitely talk more about this after I take over my new role (likely in my next post in this series).

The School Week

My school week takes up a ton of extra time. Monday nights from 8-9:30, I log onto my computer to complete my synchronous work for the week for ONE of my classes. Synchronous work is, essentially, work completed alongside my classmates via video conference. It’s actually quite fun once you get over the initial weirdness. My other live synchronous session is on Thursday night from 8-9:30. In between these days, I work through my asynchronous (or video) material.

Homework (asynchronous work and assignments) for my Monday class is due Sunday evening – so 24 hours prior to my live session. Homework for my Thursday class is due on Thursday 1 hour before the live session starts. To avoid lateness, I work on my asynchronous material for Thursday on Tuesday after work. It might take me 2 hours to complete, but then I can focus on asynchronous work for Monday the next day. I tend to spend my weekends (sometimes a few hours on Saturday and Sunday both) working on additional assignments.

The one good thing about my classes is everything is clearly outlined, with due dates, in the syllabus and course schedule. Since I know what’s due and when, I work ahead on my assignments on the weekends that way I’m not stressing out during the week about written assignments.

If you want to know a little secret about how I stay ahead, let me fill you in… I keep a planner. As soon as I got my course schedules, I filled in my planner with every single assignment and asynchronous piece so I could check it off as I completed it. Nerdy? Probably. Have I turned anything in late? No.

A note: Until May 13th’s live session, I also was meeting with a classmate before each Monday class (and even a Thursday one) working on a group presentation. I got my grade – 99/100. Hard work pays off.

Life Balance

I don’t want you to think I’m all work, no play. Obviously I live my life too. I’ve managed to hit a few book sales and spend some time with my spouse over the course of the past 6 weeks. After work, I tend to cook dinner and hang out with my husband as I cook. After we eat, we watch an episode of a show and then I go read to the kids and tuck them in. Since my husband was also in class, I’d work on my work while he was at school so that we could spend our free time together with the kids. Now that his classes are over, he’s taking point on spending time I’m working with the kids so that we can have some time together after I finish my work.

I also still read every night before bed. It might only be a few chapters… but I’m not going to stop reading for fun. That’s a main aspect of my self-care routine. Obviously, a lot of my weekend time is spent with the children. I like to spend the few hours that they’re napping on weekends working on school and the rest of the time tidying up my house and playing with my sons.

Basically, my life is a balancing act. Sometimes school has to take point in my life, but a lot of my time is spent making sure my family is taken care of. It’s hard, but we’re making it work.

Honestly, if I didn’t have a solid support system around me, I don’t think I’d be able to juggle so well. Most importantly, in my opinion, is understanding when to step away. That’s why I read every night. It helps me relax my mind and take my thoughts away from my GPA. It’s hard work juggling three full time jobs, but I’m making it work.

Closing thoughts

To close, I said I was going to post these type of posts monthly. Instead I’m going to do a mid-term post and an end of term post for each of my six terms. It’s honestly overwhelming trying to juggle work, school, life, AND manage a booktube channel and blog. I’m still working on blog posts and booktube videos, I’m just finding it hard to manage time with my social media life. That’s why I’m not putting too much pressure on myself with these.

Let’s chat!

I keep a personal planner. I’m curious. Do you keep a planner? Is it digital? Do you use a bullet journal? How do you balance your life? Let’s talk about these questions in the comments!

An Update on Life | The Road to Librarianship

I started this book blog in January as a way for me to write more. As an English Degree Holder (™) and someone who is passionate about reading and writing, it made sense to me to start something where I could explore two of my passions. There were things I did not expect or plan that came up relatively quickly in 2019.

I did not think I’d apply for graduate school this year. But I did.

I also did not think I would get into graduate school the first time I applied. But I did.

I’m posting this life update style post because it seems like the perfect opportunity to lay out some new goals for this blog now that I’m going to grad school.

Here’s the thing… I’ve gotten so used to reading a crapload of books and posting my (now) standard three reviews a week, I feel almost guilty that I won’t have the capability to post as many reviews now.

I shouldn’t feel that way. But I do. Hi, I have an anxiety disorder. Can you tell?

I sat down and started thinking about how I could change my goals to make sure I’m still sharing my bookish thoughts. Here’s what I came up with:

Goal 1

To write a post a month about how my graduate degree is going. This is why I’m titling this post “The Road to Librarianship” – it’s going to become a series on this blog for the next 18 months. I might share with you how my observations and job shadowings are going. Or I might just talk about balancing life, work, and school.

Goal 2

To write one review a week. It is my hope that I’ll be able to start and finish at least one book per week and then review said book for the following week. To ensure this can happen, I’ll be setting aside time to read each day. Basically, scheduling is going to be my best friend.

Goal 3

Instead of writing a third post, I’m considering starting a YouTube channel. I know it seems counterintuitive to start a YouTube channel right as I start graduate school, but I’ve wanted to for a long time and my editing is really quite simple, so this might be a better option to discuss other bookish things while I’m working through my program.

Other Thoughts

I realize now I didn’t say where I’m going to school or what I’ll be majoring in. Oops.

I was accepted to Syracuse University. I’m going to be studying Library and Information Science. The school is entirely online with one immersion session requirement before completion of the program.

Being from the East Coast, it’s a REALLY big deal to me that I got in to Syracuse. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford to attend this school for undergrad because I was not a resident of New York, but fortunately, since I am a veteran student I don’t have to worry about this sort of thing anymore.

Obviously, the whole idea of the series derives from the fact that I’m obtaining the MLIS.

Leave me a comment letting me know if there’s anything in particular you’d be interested in learning about in this series. While I cannot fully divulge information (program requirements), I’m sure I can find a way to share certain aspects of obtaining this degree with you!