Practical Versus Passionate

Like many of my fellow GSLIS students, I graduated university with degrees in English and Art History.  After graduation, I was essentially pushed out the door, told to “go forth and acquire employment.”  After looking around, my worst fears were realized: what was I going to do with two degrees and relatively few marketable skills?!

I worked for a while temping; I sent out resume after resume and made phone call after phone call.  It was one day, after my mom called me and recommended that I look into going to graduate school to obtain these marketable skills that are apparently so desirable in the working world, that I started to consider libraries and archives as places of employment.

But once I got to library school, I felt myself being pulled into the same trap.  Fascinating courses called to me – The History of the Book?!  Storytelling?! Organizational/Informational Ethics?! These are ALL courses I want to take.  But, because my time – and more importantly, my money – is limited, I need to decide on one course.  But then I have to decide between taking a course I believe will help me on my quest for THE MARKETABLE SKILL and courses I believe would enrich my life.

Specifically, the courses I am torn between are something technologically based – like XML, which seems to have a plethora of applications in the real world – and something, well, fun, like the Medieval Manuscript from Charlemagne to Gutenberg.  Do I want to take a chance and take an amazing elective that aligns perfectly with both my English and Art History background, or should I pursue the technical skill I know will be useful, and potentially even help me obtain future employment?

This is the problem with trying to predict the future in the time of an economic downturn.  I guess in the end all I can do is cross my fingers and hope that all of my courses will serve me well in the long run.  And, with the amazing professors I have so far had the privilege to work, talk, and sip coffee with, I can honestly say that none of them will steer me wrong – whether by counseling me, or by steering me as a student in their classes.  Let’s hope that the future is kind to us budding librarians!

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