Archive for December, 2008

Winter is Evil

Sean put it best when he wrote this, about the challenges of massive snowfall for those on foot. I had decided that I was going to try to be positive about winter this year, seeing as it will be my last New England winter and I’m vowing not to waste energy being angry about unchangeable things. But then I face a three-foot-high snowbank and puddles of icy sludge and the potential of broken bones everywhere I turn, and positivity just can’t sustain itself. I can’t wait to be back in California, where snow is something you can go visit by choice, and then come home when you’re done with it and be in a dry and sunny place again. Sigh.

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Home stretch

Oof. This semester ended up being far more challenging than I expected. It isn’t that the course work was particularly difficult, or that I had too much to do. It’s that, for the first time in my life as a student, I started to feel really tired of being a student. Every night when I came home and sat down to start studying, this great wave of fuzziness seemed to slide right over me, and all motivation to do anything but read silly books, mess about with my sewing machine, and knit slipped away completely. I actually went to class once or twice WITHOUT DOING THE READING (and anyone who knows me knows that that is just unheard of).

Of course, this is pretty common for people nearing graduation, or so I’ve heard (though I am probably the only person I know who didn’t experience this at the end of my senior year in college—I was actually bummed to graduate!). I’m already deep in the throes of the job search (I have my first big-time job interview in two weeks!), and I only have one semester left. Which also means I am nearing the end of my Boston tenure, which adds another layer of distraction and anticipation over everything else. So, you know, I’m pretty sure my lack of motivation is something being experienced by many other grad students right about now.

I was worried, briefly, that I was just becoming uninterested in all this library and information science stuff. I felt like I was reading the same things, over and over, in all my classes, and none of it was groundbreaking or interesting. I was given the same assignments to complete in different classes, and I felt like I was learning nothing new. THAT was a scary moment, let me tell you, because I’m going into a lot of debt to have this new and awesome career and if I was already feeling bored with it…bad news bears.

But then I realized that I still really enjoy reading literature in the field outside of my classes. There are tons of great blogs being written by librarians, interesting studies being published in the library literature, and fascinating books coming out about information, users, and where libraries fit in. This is still a really exciting time to be a librarian, and I still love it. I just wish we were reading some of that great stuff in my classes.

And there you have it: I like my program, I genuinely like the administration and the faculty, and being as involved as I am, I know how hard they work to make it a great program. But it’s falling short. It feels increasingly out-of-touch with the most exciting aspects of the field. I don’t blame the faculty or the administration, not really. I think it’s hard to take a slow moving institution and keep it up-to-date in a fast moving field. And, frankly, this is neither the first nor last time I’m saying that their admissions policy could be a little more stringent. Overall, I know they’re working hard, but sometimes, it’s still not enough. A lot of the classes I’ve taken are simply boring.

I have one more semester to go, and I have my fingers crossed that my motivation will return. The job search is exciting, and when I write cover letter after cover letter, I have to recognize that this LIS program has prepared me exceptionally well for the kinds of things I want to do when I’m free, uh, I mean, once I’ve graduated. But I also have to recognize that my excellent preparation was also in large part because I had the time and energy to seek out things beyond my classroom experiences and readings, and because I was lucky enough to find a great part time job in a library (and to be able to take a part time job). And I have my fingers crossed that even in this wretched economy I will find a job I love, that is motivating and exciting and fun. Is that too much to ask?

(I feel like I really want to write an addendum for the teachers I’ve had who are wonderful and offered excellent classroom experiences, but to point out their names would obviously make it clear who the bad teachers are, and I’m not a big fan of burning bridges or shaming people in public. I just hope that those great people know who they are, if they ever came across this here little yammering post of mine.)

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