Back Once Again Into The Breach

Well, I’m back and I survived my first week of grad school. Mostly. Actually, I still have a final exam and two papers that are due in the next few weeks. The only reason I’m not working on those right now is because the final exam doesn’t go online until midnight tonight. As to why I’m not working on the papers, well . . . I don’t really have a good answer to that question, especially since I’m leaving for New York on Saturday and won’t be able to take my research materials with me.

Yeah, I really should start one of those papers. That, or prepare to take a stack of library books on the plane with me.

Don’t laugh, I might just do that.

I’ve spent the last week getting introduced to the world of graduate school and quite literally, almost every waking moment has been focused on the topics of libraries and information professionalism. You might wonder how this is different from a normal day for me, given my job. Basically, it’s different in that while I spend eight hours a day in a library, I spend considerably than that amount of time thinking about libraries. It sounds crazy, but you can’t really appreciate how much you don’t think about your job until you start a graduate school course dedicated to studying your job.

In the past week, I’ve read scholarly articles about my job. I’ve wandered the stacks of the university library for hours, digging up arcane research materials and taking notes. I’ve listened and discussed and argued about this or that, all in the name of libraries. It was quite an experience and although I spent much of the past week looking forward to being done, I’m actually missing it now that it’s over. There was a certain purity to my time and a focus that was refreshing. Of course, I still have the papers to write . . . and I can’t wait for those to be done. Stupid papers.

Do you want to know the weirdest thing about my first week in graduate school? You’re still reading, so I’ll assume you do. The weird thing is that this is the first time I’ve ever felt like a college student. I have my bachelor’s degree, in Creative Writing, of all things, which does indicate how much research I had to do (very little) but during my undergrad, college just felt like this thing. This seemingly infinite thing that was really just a continuation of the same thing I’d been doing since my memory began. It didn’t feel distinct or unique. Sure, there were differences; there was one class I showed up for all of five times and still aced, but overall, the general feeling was “more of the same.”

I’m not sure whether it was the rigor of the class compared to my undergrad, if it’s the fact that I paid for this first class out of pocket, or if I’m that much more mature now than I was three years ago when I graduated. Maybe it’s some combination. Maybe it’s all of the above.

What I do know is that I learned more than I expected in the past week and I enjoyed it a hell of a lot more than I anticipated.

Except for the goddamn papers. I still don’t want to write those.

4 thoughts on “Back Once Again Into The Breach

  1. Here’s the thing, going to school up through college is basically mandatory. You are required by law to go to school until you reach 18, you pretty much have to get that High School diploma. No one’s going to hold a gun to your head about going to college, but social expectations basically tell you that the only people with the opportunity who don’t go to college in this day and age are dead beats and those talented enough to strike out into the world without a college education at their back. And what you study is largely dictated to you by the talents that you or others saw in you while you were going through your 13 years of mandatory K-12 education.

    Grad school, though, is your choice. It’s your decision. And what you study is really your choice too. No one told me when I was in high school that I should get a degree in acoustics. I doubt any of my teachers or counselors knew that was an option. I’m sure no one told you to go into library science when you were working on your undergrad, for the same reason.

    To top it off, the relationship between graduate students and educators is completely different. Most undergraduate students are preoccupied only with getting the grade they want, getting their degree, and getting out. Graduate students want to get everything they can out of their education, because they are building themselves as professionals, and the degree is only a small part of the larger puzzle of who they are. Professors pick up on that, and they have an easier time relating to their graduate students who honestly want to learn. And that’s saying nothing of the fact that professors and graduates are both academic-type people who can relate on a natural human level because of their predilection for higher learning.

    Anywho, that’s just my thoughts on the subject!

  2. Congrats on starting your MLS! My experience was pretty similar. It’s a great feeling, isn’t it, but even so, another degree doesn’t make writing papers any more appetizing. Enjoying your blog; keep it up. And good luck with it all! -EJ-

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