I realized the other day that I hadn’t updated about grad school and the experience so far, so I’m here to remedy that, while I’m still awake enough to write — somehow.
Orientation was a tough time. I was late to both because I underestimated the volume of traffic on campus, not remembering it was also freshman move-in weekend. I mistakenly thought it was the week before. So it took me about 25 minutes longer to get to where I needed to be than it should have. Then parking, naturally, was horrible. My anxiety was high but I got through it with the help of family and friends. Meeting the nice faculty of the SLIS dept. of UA (aka my new academic home) made me feel better, but I left early the night of orientation from the optional dinner because I just wanted to be home, in a familiar place where I didn’t have to use directions or fight campus traffic.
I was worried about my classes, worried we would talk about concepts that would go over my head. I was afraid library science would turn out to be something different than what I’d imagined and gotten excited about, which is ridiculous now that I think about it. But when I was able to speak up in my first class with valuable input I felt the comfort of understanding my peers, falling back into the role of classmate-peers, which is very different from coworker-peers. Many of them in my second class’s first day intros said they wanted to go into Archives, myself included, and I proudly thought, these are my people.
I was worried that writing papers would be hard for me again. True, I haven’t yet had a long assignment, my first (only so far) one being 2-3 pages or 500-750 words (I went over my 326 words, whoops — this is a habit of mine, but I really felt like I couldn’t leave anything out!). But when I started writing, I fell back into scholarly language I had gotten comfortable with in college. I felt like I knew what I was talking about in the paper, so we’ll see when the grades come back.
Additionally, I decided I want to get the two Master’s degrees offered in the SLIS department, which is the MLIS (currently pursuing), and the MFA in Book Arts, essentially learning the basics of making a book, from binding and typesetting and printing presses on up. If that doesn’t sound like me, I don’t know what does. So, I’m going to start taking some courses that can transfer credit over next semester which will supplement my MLIS courses anyway and graduate with two Master’s. I don’t know if they’ll be at the same time, it just all depends on how it plays out. I’m excited to find out but just want to focus on enjoying the ride there.
I don’t really understand when people say library school is “just busy work.” It’s so much more than that. It’s learning the foundation of why you do the things you do everyday in the library if you work in one, or if you use one (or have ever used one). It’s learning about a study and practice that, at its basic concepts, has not changed much in the last 150 years. Well, I’m biased, I guess.
Anyway, this is turning out to be a fun time in my life. I have an exciting spring break planned, more on that later, and even though I’ve been having some real issues with anxiety (when is anxiety not a real issue?) I’ve been doing better now that school’s getting started, at least I think. I’ve had to distance myself from most everybody because of my anxiety for a while but now I’m starting to feel normalish again, even though I’m still nervous in class, especially the one where we do a lot of random group discussions. I don’t know if I ever won’t feel nervous speaking up in class, I guess part of the anxiety.
I have also distanced myself from some simply because they are doors that no longer lead anywhere. Sometimes it takes a while for a person’s true nature to surface but when it does the truth always finds a way to come out. But you take something you learned and you move on, and that’s how I’ve learned to deal with it. Writing letters I’ll never send works, too. It’s been a process, but isn’t all of life?