I started my Simmons GSLIS career on beautiful West campus, at Mount Holyoke College. It was a long, two and a half hour drive, but other than a few dicey snowstorms, the commute through the meandering hills of NH and Massachusetts was a pleasant one. I enjoyed many great books on my MP3 player during the commute, and the faculty and students at GSLIS West were (and still are) a brilliant and supportive bunch.
I had two classes that took place on campus and one online…I will blame my online one, with a remarkable Boston professor, for what happened next.
Boston? I got it in my head to take advantage of ALL Simmons had to offer a library science student. Was I missing something by being on only one campus? Or is the choice simply one of geography?
I decided to find out.
So, last Saturday I attended my Database Management class on West campus, taught by a library professional and professor from Harvard (who also teaches the class in Boston), and on Monday, I started Reference on the Boston campus with the outstanding professionals at Beatley Library.
I left my house at 5 a.m. for the long commute into Boston – a car, a bus, and the T – knowing it would be longer than the West campus commute. Longer, but worth it. You might question that logic, but have you been to Simmons’ Beatley library?
The Simmons and Mount Holyoke library staff were so accommodating when I took classes on West campus, free FedEx to my door for any books I requested from Simmons, along with full access to Mount Holyoke’s beautiful library collection. I will admit, however, that wandering the stacks of the library science section of Beatley gives me chills…the thrill of standing in the place at the other end of the online search. Okay, so it is not the Bodleian, but I have wanted to attend Simmons Library Science program for nearly 20 years (yes, I am that old), so for me, it was a bit like the Holy Grail. And it was Boston.
I haven’t spent much time in a city in many years…I live on a dirt road in the woods. While I hate to sound like one of the Beverly Hillbillies, I was excited to be in the hustle and bustle, grab lunch at the Pru and take a whirl through the MFA, something I had not done in over a decade.
So, do I think that one campus is better than the other? Does one offer more? The answer is no, but what they offer is different. They offer the same high standards of education, faculty and expectations, but the packaging is different and so is the experience. I can’t say if I will choose one campus over the other, but I think that I will, instead, choose the class, the professor, the schedule that works for me and take from each place all it has to offer, knowing that the experiences of both locations will enrich my degree and make me a better librarian.