I’ve seen an abundance of posts about tips and suggestions for teachers who now must conduct their courses online, ideas on how parents can keep their children entertained, and working form home for the first time. The missing group of people here are students.
Having to make the change from in person classes to online is hard for everyone, but especially the students. Technology has grown to be a large part of the school system, but it is a different ball game in having to take courses online. To some it may feel like something is missing when not being able to properly interact with the teacher and other students. Some may thrive in the environment of working at their own pace, if classes aren't synchronous (or live).
I’ve been taking online courses for the past two years to complete my master’s degree while also working full time. I would like to offer suggestions for those who are now taking courses online. Results may vary.
Everyone who knows me knows that I'm not that found of young children. Yes, it is ironic seeing as I'm youth associate at a library, but hear me out. Baby's are adorable but they just lie their until they can gain motor skills to sit up, crawl, walk, and talk. I've never really felt like I've had maternal instincts towards children as it is. Sure, I have said in the past if I were to have or want children I would want to foster or adopt them. Got to keep that family tradition alive! Or at least start a new tradition.
I've never really found myself connecting to a child unless they were at the age where they can speak very clearly and we can have a conversation. I'm sure all parents know that moment when their child is trying to tell them something in their child-english that when you go and do what you thought they asked or said, your child gets frustrated because you did something wrong. You just don't know what it is. This has occurred for me numerous times during the programs I've run at the library, and I end up leaving the program so confused as to how I ruined the conversation or their game of imagination.
However, the one thing that ruins any yearning for me wanting to have children is that some who are school aged don't haven't fully mastered the skill of properly covering their face when they sneeze, and with this year's cold and flu season as well as the wide range of weather temperatures in my area, I've been hit a cold more times than I can count.
In a matter of days, I'll be starting my second semester of grad school towards my MLIS. I'd be excited, but to be honest, I'm a bit apprehensive. Or, maybe that's not the right word. I guess I just feel 'meh'. I know, it's not really a word and not an emotion but it's the best way to describe things. School has never really been that difficult for me. History, Science, and Math were classes that I was never excited to take, but of course they're the core few so you have to. I didn't even understand taking those courses in college either. I was really excited about college because I could take the classes I wanted to, same for grad school.
For my first semester, I took four classes and passed them all. Things went along smoothly save for a two-week patch. I was really worrying about having enough time to get school work done around working full time (being the only youth associate where I work which in turn means taking on much more at my job) and fielding all the group project virtual meet ups. Plus, I still wanted to have and keep a social life so I was re-arranging and rescheduling dinners out with friends or going to the movies or amusement parks with my sisters.
This semester I am taking three classes, but only one is required towards my degree. The other two are essentially electives and I'm happy to finally start taking classes in the area I'm really interested in. Getting to this point wasn't easy though - at least emotionally. After finishing my last semester I had roughly six weeks of break before classes start again. I did't really get to rest during it, because I was so worried about my scholastic status.
At the beginning of those six weeks I had a hold on my account, stopping me from seeing my grades because I didn't pay for the Spring semesters courses. I shouldn't have had a hold on my account because I'm covered by tuition deferral to give my financial aid time to kick in to cover my course fees. After receiving a letter in the mail in November saying my financial aid was added to my account (it wasn't), noticing the hold on my account, numerous phone calls, and emails, I was able to get the hold taken off. I was jut told to "make sure my financial aid pays off the fees before courses start." This gave me pause because I filled out all the forms correctly and months ago at the start of the semester, so why would it be my job to make sure the campus' financial aid office does its job?
My financial aid was added to my account a week before classes started. It did get added a week ahead, if you look at a calendar. In reality, it was a couple of days before even though it was marked as being added as early as the beginning of last week. Maybe it was due to the government shutdown (i did my research - apparently already approved funding wouldn't be affected), or maybe there were just errors/problems on the school's end, i don't know. What i do know is that it caused me more stress than it should have, even with my 2019 goal of trying to have a more positive outlook/thought process.
But the one thing that is causing me pause, is myself. I received a scholarship this past summer for my studies (which i later learned was a competitive scholarship) and I passed all of my classes with good grades. Part of me feels like it was kind of a fluke. Don't get me wrong, I worked hard and received my blessings due to my own merit, but I also feel like I'm chasing the impossible achievement of success that I feel like is put on me, but may not actually be there.
I don't like to talk about my grades anymore (I only talked about it with a few people) because I worry people will expect me to always reach the same levels as I did in my first semester. In some ways, it could be a "silent" race issue that's driving me to do well, not just for me but for all of us. I don't tell people that I struggle with academic papers, even though I'm an English major. I love doing research for papers (at least, on topics I'm interested in) but the actual professional, academic writing, gives me pause. People close to me have said that I "have nothing to worry about, you're a great writer." Ask any of my high school teachers, creative writing was much more fun to me and came easier. There's a reason I majored in English with a concentration in creative writing. Sure, I get good grades on papers but you didn't see me staying late after work to grab a study room and hole myself up until we closed so I could carve out more time to work on them. You didn't see me stay up until the early hours of the morning a paper was due (thank you 3 hour time difference) to make sure I lined up with each detail of a rubric.
In fact, i tend to clam up and try not to talk about school in general because it's all people ask when they see me. A graduate degree is a big thing, and I am working towards my career - something that I'm good at and I love to do. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to work in a library and get my degree at the same time. The library science field is a tricky world, and some people may have a master's degree but still not get hired for months to years after completing school.
I could be overthinking things like usual, but that doesn't mean my thoughts and feelings aren't valid. I guess we'll see once classes start. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the rest of my small vacation before my textbooks arrive (yes, i did procrastinate on this - but working in the library has saved me some money for having copies of textbooks I needed), and my schedule starts to fill up again. I feel, though, as long as I stay as organized as I was last semester, everything will turn out okay.
What's up, everyone?
(The sky; airplanes)
I know, it's been a while! I'm sure I'm sounding like a broken record at this point. A lot has happened since my last post, which judging by the dates was Jan 2018. I was starting a review series (one of many which I said I was going to do), which I will get back to. However, this post is the start of a new series.
For those who may not know, I decided to go to school to get my Masters in Library and Information Science aka a MLIS. I've been working in libraries for about 4 years now, and I it helped me figure out what I want to do with my life: creating programming and a space for teens. My focus for my Master degree will be in Youth/Young Adult Services, however I like to learn and know about all the different roles in libraries so I will be taking various other courses to be more well rounded including management, grant writing, reference, etc.
This series of blog posts will be called M.L.I.S. to stand for "My Life in (Library) School". The biggest difference between grad school and college for me right now is that my program is entirely online. I'm working full time and going to school full time. I know, it sounds crazy but the program I am in is based out in CA so I get three extra hours to turn in assignments and its all online including office hours so it will work around my schedule. My other option would be to quit my job and move to a different state since there is no accredited MLIS program in my state, and moving wasn't an option for me. This way, I may be able to use my school work at work or vice versa. It's a win-win situation. Plus, I have the option to be on campus for my graduation or join a special ceremony online. Yeah, i think I'll take the chance to visit CA when the time comes! ;)
My classes officially started today but I had one class start before the semester. It started Aug st and I finished Aug 19th, when the overall finish date is Sept 18th. After doing the first class, I know I can handle grad school online. Confidence is the first step. I finished my first class with an A+. I am the last person to brag about themselves or talk about their accomplishments, but this is something I'm really proud of, so I wanted to share it.
So, check back from time to time to see how everything is going, if you'd like. I hope to keep this updated as I work through my program for the next two years.
Till next time!
Today, I have been working at the library for one year. It's kind of hard to believe it's been that long already. Initially, when people would suggest that I do something in the library science field because of how much i liked to read and write, i would be very skeptical. I was essentially basing my thoughts on librarians through the media, which happens with everything shown through the media, and didn't really like the idea. My goal is to become a writer - more specifically a novelist.
Going through school, reading and writing were definitely my passion along with music. I majored in English/Creative Writing and minored in Music. No matter where I go, i usually bring a book with me. I remember in high school I would regularly get my hair done on the weekends. After chatting with the hairdressers and answering their questions about being a multiple, out came my book and i read for the remainder of my time their until i was picked up. They were happy that I enjoyed reading and always encouraged it.
I kind of stumbled into my position at the library I worked at. I was just browsing online job posts looking for a second job when I found it. I wasn't looking for a library in particular. I was just looking for a second place of employment to be able to pay my bills and to make a living. I had started at my retail position around the holidays, and making that much money was nice because I had an open schedule. However, i knew the hours were soon going to dwindle so i needed something else.
I had found the library/computer aide position and sent in my application on New Years Eve of 2014. Then i had assumed I didn't have the right qualifications because I hadn't heard back from the HR department. I followed the status of my application online every day, but it was sitting at 'Review of Training and Experience', for weeks. Finally, around the middle of January, I was contacted for an interview.
Just a side note, but here's a little tip: For all the places you're applying to, save the company phone number in your cell phone. This way you'll know who's calling you for an interview, and you won't have to guess between every phone call that happens. I mean, sometimes I still get people that dial the wrong number. It's just so you'll be comforted knowing that the right person is contacting you.
It was kind of short notice, but my interview was scheduled a few days later after the phone call. Thankfully it would be held on a day where I had the day off from my job. The position was for a part-time Library/Computer Aide and after doing research I found that the library was only up the street from my retail position. It sounded perfect. While filling out the application i looked over the job description and found that i would need to know about technology and various computer systems, customer service, video games, and library application like shelving. It sounded way too perfect.
The interview went really well, and i was told that i would be notified by mail if i were offered the position by the end of February. February came and went, and I hadn't received a letter. I would always be the one to go and check the mail because I was excited to see if i were offered the position. The interview and everything just felt right to me. So, when the letter didn't come it was now about the first week in March. I had previously told my parents and a few people close to me about the interview, so i was constantly being asked what had happened, what was going on, what have i heard. I'm going to be honest, my annoyance level at that point was pretty high, not just because I was being asked the same question over and over again and not have an answer, but I didn't receive communication like i was told i would have.
I gave it a week, so it's about the second week of March 2015. I still hadn't heard anything. I had kept my interviewers phone number in my files so I decided to call her and see what was going on. She then directed me to another woman, stating that I should have definitely heard back from them at that point. Once I had contacted the other woman, she had stated that i was in fact offered the position and was surprised that i wasn't notified and equally surprised that i hadn't responded. I told her that i was initially told I'd be notified through the mail, but she said it should have been a phone call.
At that point, the rest of the week was a whirlwind. I had to go and fill out my paperwork, get a background check, and do a drug test. I had to find ways to do this all around my main retail job. So i was essentially busy every day of the week, especially because that week I also had to do big floor moves and stay at work longer than usually scheduled. Finally, after everything was processed, I was told that I would be reporting to the 2nd floor of the library aka Childrens. I was a little crushed at first because I really wanted to be on the Teens floor with the video games and the computer lab and the board games, but I was hired and in a library which had something to do with my degree so i was happy nonetheless. Then, about two days before I was to start I was switched to the Teen floor and had to give them my availability for the upcoming week so they could schedule me. I based it around how i was scheduled at my retail job for that week, and it's stayed the same way ever since.
On my first day, I arrived about 5-10 minutes early and was given a tour of the facilities. I instantly fell in love with the building. I started to like the idea of potentially becoming a librarian. This library had more areas, spaces, and equipment than I'd ever seen. It was then I had learned it was recently opened in January, a few months earlier. For the first few days, I learned all there was about the Teen floor, i played a few video games to get used to the handling and controls just in case a patron has a problem, and I learned how to take down stats and monitor people's use on the computers.
I believe I am very spoiled where i work. I'm in close proximity to the mall so i can go shopping or find something to eat during my break, there are various restaurants around the block so i could eat there, a naval museum and theater are right down the street, and I can expect free/leftover food from various events in the break room. Plus, the view from my floor is spectacular. But that's not why i feel spoiled.
I feel spoiled because I have some of the best co-workers in the world. We all actually like each other. Side note - that's a running joke. We help each other set up from programs without being asked, or even if someone says that they have everything under control we help anyway. We can easily tease or make fun of each other without worrying about it turning into something bigger. Even if we talk about potential polarizing topics, we can talk about it in a calm way and not think any less of each other. I'm always excited to go to the library because I get to spend time with them.
Of course, I'm the youngest once again and everyone else is older than me, but I never felt like they saw me as a young twenty-something but as a person. I've even grown close to one of my co-workers that we now attend a yoga class together. I've grown close to another co-worker who recently left, but she's a great friend. She styled my hair recently and we have plans to go thrift shopping together once our schedules line up. Plus, whenever something bad happens or something potentially good happens, I get tons of support from them. It's a great feeling to know that they have my back.
It never feels like work when I'm around them, granted my job description doesn't make it feel like work. Whenever I tell people that I get paid to write, read, or play games, its all true! I can't wait to see what the next year brings me. There's just so much more I want to do and learn here. I can't wait to see what the next year brings me.
PS - I'm planning on writing a book about the things I've seen or have been a apart of at the library. You won't believe some of the stories I have! :)
"Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you." - Walt Whitman