posted October 18, 2014 9:04 AM by Samantha Quiñon
The schedule of Spring 2015 classes came out this week, and for a while, it was all anyone could talk about. I still walk through the halls and overhear conversations about it. Generally, people are excited or stressed about it. It's exciting because we can look ahead and see ourselves moving forward in the program, but with all of our options at SLIS, that can simultaneously be a bit anxiety provoking.
I've stayed really close with three other people with whom I had classes over the summer. We all started during that term and were all archives concentrators with the same SLIS academic advisor. Also, we were in class 12 hours a week together and worked collaboratively on many group projects, which is a good way to get to know one another. (Summer schedule is 6 hours a week for six weeks per class with a maximum of 6 total credits, instead of the usual 3 hours a week for 12-13 weeks per class with a maximum of 9 total credits.) Now, after two classes last term, we still have a few classes together this fall, and we usually go out for drinks once a week. Things are different from over the summer. Lizzie switched out of archives and is on the general track now, concentrating on cataloging and classification. Nick is still in archives, but is strongly considering switching to the technology track to concentrate on information architecture. Sara is still in archives though, and she's concentrating on preservation. And I'm still in archives too, but I'm considering going into the general track and focusing on metadata. We are pretty typical, in that it is not unusual to get to SLIS and discover a passion in a certain area of information science that you didn't know you had.
All of these thoughts about changing directions came to the forefront this week, because all of us will be finished with the core requirements for the general degree after the Fall, and we find ourselves having to pick classes for Spring. That means Spring classes will bring either electives or more requirement for archives, which is a track that isn't very flexible. (More information about SLIS curriculum can be found here.)
In many ways this rigidity is comforting for me. I'm in the best archives program in the country, and I don't have to think a lot about what classes to take to make me successful in that field. SLIS took the guesswork out of it for me--for all of us. That lack of freedom can also be claustrophobic. My friends and I have many times shared mutual feelings of fear that we won't be able to discover or explore our other passions if we stay with archives. My roommate Laura, also in the program, says it's the same no matter what concentration you're in. She thinks it's a "grass is always greener" scenario, and right now she's choosing between youth services in the general track or the school library teacher program (SLTP).
These are difficult choices, and at some point in the next week, we're all going to have to make a formal decision. The good thing is that we have one another for support and our academic advisors to help us decide each of our best options. Whatever happens, it's going to feel good (exciting even) to have a clear plan and a firm path.