I could reflect endlessly about my first semester in the School of Library and Information Science, especially since I entered the graduate program without any defined goals about what my future within it would be. For someone who started the program with just some vague idea of working with data or in an archive upon graduation, I’ve talked a lot about my goals in these entries. The positive thing about assigned self-reflection and journaling assignments is that they force you to look at your progress under a microscope. What have I learned? How have I grown?
Prior to entering the SLIS program, I sometimes felt at a loss in terms of any future career path beyond my current position. Though I am serious about my studies, even more so after experiencing my first semester within SLIS, I even applied on a whim; a sort of “why not?” I’ll always remember the day I made the decision. I was having a particularly excruciating day in retail (with that said, I do love my current job, and customer service in general) and that classic lightbulb in my head turned on. Library school! I didn’t have an updated resume, my GRE scores were about to expire, and the idea of writing a personal statement four years out of undergrad was incredibly daunting– despite that BA in English I earned way back when.
Somehow, I finished the application and was admitted. Obviously, and thankfully. I’ve enjoyed my first semester a lot. The work has asked a lot of me, but it’s so wonderful to see how very worth it very piece of it is. I’ve gone from being an individual who knows very little about libraries (minus the fact that there are many different kinds ) to a LIS student with (at least partially) formed opinions about things like e-books, makerspaces, digitization, and funding. I’ve actually found blogs, journals, and associations that seem to be tailored to my personal interests– something I suspected might happen, but had to see to believe.
The main thing I’ve grown to love about libraries in general over my first three months in the graduate program is how flexible the category of librarianship is, and how many ways a LIS degree can be adapted to different institutions. I don’t want to work in a public library? No problem– there are other options out there– academic libraries, archives, museums, even private companies. I can work as a cataloger, a researcher, or even a data analyst with my MLIS. It all depends on how I tailor my studies– which internships I apply for, what classes I take, who I network with, what I read. With that said, the most exciting thing I’ve learned about libraries so far is the role of technology in their future. I remember talking in class about how the jobs we’re training for now are the jobs that do not yet exist. This reality challenges my competitive, inquisitive core, and I’m sure it will continue to through my studies.
Where will I be three years from now? Hopefully (finally) graduated, with a good amount of work experience under my belt. I’m in no hurry to get there though. One of the best things I can do for myself as a LIS student is to take the time to explore career paths and job options while I’m still in school. I find it important to keep a stead pace with my eyes wide open, to in turn learn what I can. I want a future within LIS to be excited about, and I’m the only one who can make it happen.