posted December 4, 2013 12:35 PM by Julie Steenson
This is my last post as a Simmons GSLIS student. For the last several weeks, I have been saying, "The end is so close, I can taste it," and then I pour a glass of wine and exclaim, "And it tastes like Chardonnay!" But now that my biggest assignments are submitted, with just some revisions and tasks to finish up in the last week, the taste is becoming bittersweet. It is hard to say good-bye.
I have debated with myself what profound thoughts to leave behind. Should I write the usual "letter to my younger self" that seems to plague most blogs these days? Other than a brain crammed with Library and Information Science, what should I share with those just embarking on this adventure? Here goes.
Prepare to be amazed! Not by my words but by what you will learn from the faculty and your peers. And more importantly, what you will learn about yourself and what you can do.
I started my GSLIS career in a spring semester with three CORE courses, and only a very part-time job. I am middle-aged with a family, house, in-laws, mortgage, etc., and I drove 2 ½ hours each way to classes every Saturday. I thought I would die that first semester. I thought my brain would explode. My technology learning curve was huge and I am still in awe that I came up it and exceeded it, and am now the go-to technology person at the public library where I work. I did not see that coming.
I listened to my older brother and took that first summer off to recharge. Listening to my older brother was also something I did not see coming...ever in my life! It was a wise move. I used the time to explore new interests like prison libraries.
In the fall, I added more work hours, more commuting for classes -- a trek to Boston one day a week and another to South Hadley on the weekends, and instead of harder, life was just a little easier than the first semester. I fell in love with Reference...which I did see coming.
The spring semester ushered in more work hours, back to a one-day a week class commute, and the additional commitment of volunteering in a prison library. When I started GSLIS, I did not see myself working in a prison and now I dream about it when I am not there. This passion, this vocation is something I did not see coming.
Two intense summer courses...and more work hours! My garden was devoured in weeds, but the veggies were still great as they did not seem to mind. I loved User Instruction and learned so much. I played my first virtual reality game disguised as a Management course, and I fell in love with Management. I did not see that coming at all. In fact, when I started GSLIS, I was sure I never wanted to be a director, and now I take management webinars "for fun." Management training has actually streamlined my life both at work and at home. If only I had done this sooner!
Here I am with my last three classes this semester and my first "professional" job at a university library. It is time to say a bittersweet good-bye and embark on new adventures. I don't feel like I know everything, but the most important thing I have learned is that I can learn anything. When I don't know the answer, I can find it. All that middle-aged fear of trying new things is only a distant memory. Try everything! Never pass up an opportunity. These were not the lessons I expected to learn, but they are the ones that changed my life.
You may not know your passion when you start, but you will find it here.