So, the very first class I took for my grad school program was an introductory to online learning aka an intro to taking online courses. It was very easy and was a CR/NR or a P/F kind of course. Everything was already loaded on the course site, and you just had to submit assignments by the given deadline. It didn’t matter what order you completed the readings or quizzes, just that they had to be done by the end of the course.
I liked this intro because it meant I could complete whenever I chose if I did it before the deadline (and when other classes started). In fact, I finished the course with a month to spare. It was what I thought my school experience would be like, but it turned out to be completely wrong.
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.
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! :)
Happy New Year!
Now that 2016 has arrived, I usually take this time (like a lot of other people) to reflect on the past year. It had a lot of ups and downs and troubling times, especially with Rosie (my car) and her seemingly constant tire care. Sometimes, I sit back and wonder how I survived it all.
For the past two years, I made a list for the goals/plans of things I'd like to do or accomplish throughout the year. Here is a list of the things I have done:
-Traveled to a new city
-Enter writing contests
-Create/Use a 2015 good moments jar
-Update my stories on FF.Net more often
-Continue to eat healthier
-Become more spiritual
-Push myself out of my comfort zone
-Dye my hair
-Learn a new language
-Learn a new skill
-Explore Norfolk/Newport News
After going through my 2015 good moments jar, I found that I had stopped slipping in good moments after the first few months of the year; around April or so. I decided to do it again this year so I can really keep track of everything that's been going on.
As for my goals this year, normally one of them revolves around losing weight or keeping the weight off. That's usually what everyone's goal/plan for a year is and then they stop going to the gym or trying that new workout by around the middle of January. They do say that New Year's Resolutions are hard to keep. This year, though, I'm doing something different.
I'm not going to focus on my health or my weight, but have more of a focus on my wellness. Health and wellness go hand in hand, but I've had a pretty good grasp on my health. I eat pretty decently, and I don't restrict anything, I just slightly change my portion sizes. However, if you have sour patch kids or hot tamales near me, or even German chocolate cake, then this would be a whole different story.
Wellness is more of the idea of choices you make to have better health and a better lifestyle. I need to focus on myself more, and not worry about pleasing other people. The most important thing in my life should be myself. I always say I love helping people but I worry that one day it'll come back and bite me, which it has. Or, it had, in this case.
Anyone that follows me on Facebook, Twitter, or is in usual contact with me would know that I had faced the toughest time in the last few months. Both of my part time jobs had extended/holiday hours and I was stretched to the max. It's a given that in the world of retail you're going to have holiday hours. At my library job, I had taken on more hours around Sept/Oct because we were understaffed, and I would be going from working 19 1/2 hours a week to 29 1/2. I could easily handle that with working my retail job as well. Then, we were given the green light to work more hours through Jan because we'd still be understaffed until HR hired more people in the division/department I work in.
Honestly, I was skeptical at first, and worried how I'd be able to handle working extra hours at the library and at my retail job. I told my supervisor and she was kind of wondering the same thing as well, but slightly changed my schedule to give myself at least one guaranteed day from off from both jobs, because of the way my schedule fell in-between both. So, in a way, I agreed to take on the extra hours and I was also essentially told I was going to have to take them because of how understaffed we were. At the time, i didn't mind it because I love love love love love my library job, all the people i work with, and what I get to do everyday. Plus, i had wracked my sick hours so if I every needed a mental health day, I don't think my supervisor would have minded if I used some.
So, at this point, as the holiday/extended hours started at both of my jobs at the beginning of November, I was working about 50+ hours a week. I've worked a 40+ hour a week job before when I interned at HRA, but this was different.
Even though my two jobs are a block apart, I have to change my thought process to accommodate the two. My library job is more relaxed than my retail job, the two have different dress codes, one I have to get up early to work and the other (or sometimes both) I have to stay late to close. At my retail job I just help people and at my library job I have to enforce rules/policies and play games or entertain people at the same time. Both jobs I have great company with people I work with, but my retail job I felt was way more demanding than usual, even for a holiday season and I've worked the holiday season at my retail job the year prior. Sometimes I felt I was someone's main go to to person when something needed to be done, and while I like that people trust me to get things done, i quickly felt overwhelmed.
See, sometimes, I have a problem with saying no, especially when it comes to taking extra shifts at either of my jobs. Bottom line, I'll be earning more money. In most situations, though, I can say no easily because I know what i want, what i like, and what i feel comfortable with. While I do push myself out of my comfort zone from time to time, i can put my foot down when needed.
This winter/holiday season I felt like I was on the precipice of a mental breakdown. I was so stressed I would have constant headaches, I'd feel irritable all the time, and I was close to snapping at everyone for no apparent reason. I was very forgetful, somewhat sluggish, and every time I did something wrong at work, or something went wrong it felt like my world was going to end. I was getting less and less sleep, and not eating properly at all because my schedule was constantly changing. I almost lost it when I arrived at my library 30 mins late because I read my shift schedule wrong. My supervisor wasn't concerned about it at all, which confused me, but I guess since I'm usually 5 mins early for my shift and we were very very slow that day it wasn't such a big deal.
After talking to one of my co-workers at the library, I discovered meditation. I was pretty much at my wits end and was looking for a way to make my headaches disappear aside from taking ibuprofen from time to time. My co-worker knew I was having a hard time with everything, and I didn't even have to tell her. She could just see it in my face, the way I easily forgot things, or the way I acted and she's only known me since April. That's quite a feat, in my opinion, because I can hide things pretty well.
Meditation was really hard for me to get into at first because my mind constantly raced. Not only because I was working so much, but because I had a lot of writing ideas floating around my head, but that's a usual occurrence. I borrowed two mediation books from my co-worker and read each of them for an hour before i went to sleep, so 30 mins for each. When slowly starting it, i was a little bit skeptical, but still open minded. I mean, if it worked it worked and if it didn't it didn't.
Now, I try to meditate every day or every other day. My headaches where finally gone and I felt happy again, I felt like myself. Although, spending time around my family and my sisters during Christmas instantly put me in a better mood. I was happy just from knowing that I was heading home the minute I jumped into my car.
I've learned various techniques of meditation, where I can meditate for three minutes up to half an hour. It's nice to clear my head and just focus on nothing. Quite frankly, aside from writing down my new story ideas, I think it helps clear out all of those thoughts as well.
Now that the extended hours at one of my jobs is over, I feel like i can breathe again. Don't get me wrong, I'm kind of glad I was super busy. If i were stationary for too long I'd feel weird that I was alone during parts of the holidays since my sisters were already at home after finishing their semester of grad school. Don't get me wrong, I did go out and hang out with my co-workers and friends doing various activities like seeing movies and stuff, but when I'd be back at my apartment eating my super late, and light, dinner before heading to sleep is when it'd kick in.
After taking up mediation, I'm kind of leaning towards yoga, but I'm not too sure about that yet. I enjoy high energy, high action things like dancing and martial arts. I mean, where else but in martial arts can you punch something and not get into trouble for it? My co-worker who got me into meditation has told me about this retreat kind of place where it's all about yoga and meditation. I think I'd like to try it one day. She enjoys doing it. I think she's trying to get me into it so she can have a friend to do the activity as well. She's always so excited and willing to listen when I talk about having a slight interest in yoga. Maybe I should start with YouTube videos first.
The ending of 2015 was okay. Don't get me wrong, spending New Year's Eve with my sisters by going out to lunch/dinner and playing video games for the rest of the night was great. And yet, I was ready for 2015 to be over. I had a lot of setbacks the last few days of the year and I wanted to start anew. Now that I have my positive mindset back, I don't think of them as setbacks anymore. I see them as a set ups for a comeback.
2016 has started off great, so I'm hoping that it sets the tone for the next month and then eventually the rest of the year. I already can see good things coming (Circus Camp at the library, two of my sisters getting their Masters, hours at my library job slowly decline back to the regular 19 1/2 per week), so now that a positive change has occurred, I'm ready to see what is bound to happen.
I've been meaning to write a new blog post for ages but now that I have two part-time jobs I barely get enough time to rest. Don't get me started about my "to-do list". Can you believe it? I actually have a "to-do" list.
Anyway, back on March 23rd, I started working part-time as a Library/Computer Aide at the new Slover Memorial Library. I actually knew I had the job a few weeks before hand but I didn't announce it to anyone except for my sisters and my parent's at the time because I didn't see it as officially my job until I received my first schedule.
There was a slight delay in getting my schedule for two reasons 1) At the last minute, I was switched to a different department, and 2) I had to change my Kirkland's schedule which wouldn't go into affect until I started working at the library, so it was pretty stressful around that point.
I had changed positions from somewhere on the first floor, I don't know where, to the 5th Floor. The Teen Floor. Now, I'm pretty sure I was switched because I know a lot about video games and computers. They even asked me questions about it during my interview and I just went on and on about my favorite games and different consoles i've owned, played, and know how to operate.
Working here is like a dream. I essentially get paid to write, play video games, and play games with the patrons. I usually work in the computer lab and aside from monitoring what people are doing in there, it gets boring fast. That's what my supervisors warned me about from the beginning. So I bring my memory stick with me and just work on my stories or novel ideas in between doing my job.
When there is down time in general, usually around 6pm on weeknights, i try to find things to do which basically means playing Super Smash Bros Brawl and Mario Kart 8 until I notice something needs to be done, or until someone wants to play a game I'm playing. I also get to take the time to draw, put together a puzzle, or read.
Now, don't get me wrong, I actually do work. I do collections work, check out game controllers, and check out the study rooms. I sit at the front desk and answer as many questions as possible, if i can, before directing people to another floor. I help set up for programs and events, and sometimes participate, and I clean up the floor when it is close to closing. My supervisors say it is the most fun floor of the whole library and I couldn't agree more.
I LOVE it here! I love the atmosphere. I love the people I work with and the people I talk to every day. I just love libraries in general. This library has a 3D printer, a cafe next door, a gaming lounge where we get to blast music after 4pm (Kpop anyone? That's the only thing i play when i run the music if I'm working desk, aside from Disney), interactive maps, a digital production room, a Mac Lab, and many other perks. But the number one best thing, is that it is right across the street from the mall so going from the library to Kirkland's (or Kirkland's to the library) is easy. Plus, with working here I can FINALLY wear something other than just black and white.
"Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you." - Walt Whitman