Tag Archives: grad school

Library Blues

Some time in the middle of the past summer I had a phone interview with a big-shot new england university library.  They were in the middle of opening an Information Commons (a bookless library for you non-library types) and were hiring a recent graduate to head the department.  They were looking for someone energetic and computer & web savvy.   I was so excited to have the opportunity just to talk to them (they’re that cool)–let alone get an interview.

I studied their school and memorized my CV for hours.  And when the interview came I totally bombed it.  I sounded like a broken record, repeating the same concept no matter how many different ways they phrased their questions.

And I knew when I hung up that it was the last time I’d hear from them.

Disappointed in myself, I held my chin high and laughed it off and remembered that “God always has a plan.”

And really, God came through.  I’ve got this amazing position that keeps me plenty busy.  Although “Library 2.0” certainly wasn’t in my job description, I’m implementing what I know, and have great confidence in what I’m doing here.  This job also kept us close to both of my families and made planning a wedding the slightest bit easier because I didn’t have to do it from across the country.  I certainly don’t envy my friend who aren’t able to talk their mom into coming to lunch with them when they’re having a bad day–a slightly more difficult endeavor when it involves a plane flight.

But something has been haunting me about this the last few days.  I would have been great at that hot-shot library.  I have so much to offer.  I would have been a rock-star adjunct at their Library School.  I ached to move across the country and start a new adventure.

I’m just not sure how to let it go.

And so it goes.

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And worst of all, no one here thinks I’m funny

I’m in a class called Storytelling, which is, in fact, a class that teaches students to be better storytellers.  Although I took it with the desire for a more light-hearted summer course I admit that I’m really enjoying it.

This week we’ve been working on family and personal stories.  Although I feel that I’ve got some pretty good zingers, I realized that making them universal for all audiences will be a bit of a struggle.  So many of my stories are funnier when you know something about what it means to be Catholic–and for any person that needs me to define “cassock” or “adoration” or “offer-it-up” I feel that the meaning would be lost in translation.

Welp.  There goes all my good ones.

But I’m going to tell you anyway.  We were doing exercises in class and had to draw a number of squares.  We would label each square with a trait or characteristic (optimist, black sheep, jack-of-all-trades, ect) and we were then asked to fill in each box with someone in our family that fit the description.  “Remember,” the teacher reminded us, “‘family’ can be defined however you wish.  So, as traits like “the rock,” “persistent,” “eccentric” came up, I started filling in the names of saints while laughing to myself.

And really, even if I would try to explain it I don’ t think anyone else would have found it humorous.

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Another use of Zotero

Dear Non-Library Nerds,

You can stop reading now.

Signed,

This Girl

I started using Zotero to manage my documents for class.  Although this bibliographic tool (it stores documents, allows you to add notes and tags, inserts citations into your Word document, and then builds a bibliography based upon the documents you use–all built seamlessly within the Firefox browser) is geared more toward the end-product of a research paper, I was thinking that it might be beneficial for class.  I spend a good portion of my time finding, printing, and then sorting through journal articles.  This semester I thought perhaps I’d try to read them from my computer screen (omystars I’m becoming a less tactile person?!  2.0!) and keep my comments in a Word document.  It still seemed a bit messy to me–too many steps, too many folders to create and sort through. Although there is probably a way the Word or Pages allows you to hyperlink remote files I was feeling too stubborn to find out.

So I turned to Zotero, who would allow me to “capture” the article, add notes, and retrieve articles by class date or keyword.  Brilliant.  I’ll just have to be sure to stay off Adium (or GoogleChat) and on task during class…

The only downside is that this is all hosted from within my Mac.  Meaning, if I’m away from my computer I’ll have to be sure to capture the articles and notes later.  Internet hosting verses isolated desktop hosting–an interesting conundrum that I’ve experienced both sides of recently.  But the RefWorks v. Zotero discussion is a topic for another day.

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You know you’re not actually a librarian, right?

When I worked at a library in college I sometimes called myself a “librarian” just to make it easier when I explained my job to others.  Somewhere along the way I stopped that practice because I began to recognize that it was kind of like calling myself a doctor when I was just a candy-striper.   And now, as a library science student I continue to struggle with the term.  Although I’m still a year away from my degree that certifies me as such, I have still been working to use the term “grad assistant” or “pseudo-librarian.”

But then I realized while watching Scrubs (as all good revelations come while watching Scrubs) that all the med-students on the show call themselves doctors, despite the fact they’re still in school.  This made me wonder if, as a person with six years of library experience and currently works in the field, could I, too, proclaim the title of librarian–or should it be saved for all its glory until after I graduate?

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what kinna patois you speak’n there, girl?

Maybe it’s grad school.  Or all the living in my head I do.  Or the Grammar Girl podcasts.  Or maybe I’ve reached that point where my mind has found a heightened sense of intellect. (I hardly think it the latter)

But I’ve noticed that my writing style has changed (I’ve started using words like latter) and it has slowly seeped into my dialect as well, making me speak less like a college student and more like an elbow-patched professor.

My latest blunder occured yesterday when I met, for the first time, what a collegue of Kyle’s at the library conference.  We were collecting our posterboards and she had asked, “Are you going to be working on it here?”  Kyle told her no, he would be taking it back to the office.  She looked to me, “Likewise” I said.

They both looked confused for a moment….”uuuh, Me too.”  I corrected myself.

You’re an idiot.

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Keep on keep’n on

I’ve been rather MIA since leaving Champaign last weekend (or, since March, really).  You’d think that ending classes would have positively impact a person’s schedule, but I’ve been working on putting my ideas together for a poster presentation at LOEX tomorrow.  My room is currently in shambles–piles from the semester, last week’s trip to Champaign, and the shopping trips I’ve made to update my shoe collection.  And if you know me at all you’ll know that this means I’ve been rather busy.

Next week I’ll be without classes or presentations.  I’ll working downtown and enjoying the joy of warm weather and the anticipation of the Holy Spirit’s decent upon the earth–sorry…I can get a little to Catholic sometimes.

New suit on.  Poster prepped.  Handouts made. Resumes printed.  Nerdy/chic librarian glasses.  Good to go.

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with or without you

In class yesterday the professor was discussing the upcoming midterm–giving specifics as to length, etc, and easing people’s apprehensiveness.  For the laptop users in the class, she is allowing the use of a word-processor as long as we promise not to search the internet during the exam.

I raised my hand and asked if one decided to use the bluebook, would points be deduct for misspellings?  I realized in the middle of my question how stupid it sounded–of course points will be taken off.  You’re in graduate school, idiot.  And, although she nicely affirmed my stupidity, and I realized that I’d become one of those I-can’t-take-an-exam-unless-you-tell-me-every-detail students that I do not so much adore.

The thing is that I don’t feel my statement completely unfounded.  Although my professor is pretty darn tech savvy (much greater than me, actually) I felt it was a testament to our generation gap.  I’ve been writing my papers since seventh grade on the computer, which means for the last 11 years I’ve been using spell check.  Meaning, when I have to write things out I do NOT know how to spell and my vocabulary greatly decreases.  I’ve come to rely on those red squiggly lines under words and Google’s, “did you mean ____” function.  Is this bad?  Yes.  It is.  But is it reality?  Yes.  It is.

I was also a poor speller before the use of computers.  Although my spelling hasn’t so much improved at least I can get around it.  In the case of the exam, I would much rather hand write my responses, but acknowledge that using my laptop would give me (and the rest of the computer users) a significant advantage.  My point is that sure, it isn’t so great that I’d be lost without spell-check, but spell-check isn’t going anywhere.  It is a part of who we are and our culture–a fact we cannot deny or fight.  It wasn’t so much that I was asking about the nitty-gritty of the exam, I was asking if I would be taking a significant loss if I decided to take the exam without my left arm (an extremity that I don’t necessary need, but certainly use–it just so happens I’m right-handed anyhow).  Because, well, like the very library users I’m trying to teach, we use it because it has always been there.  Can we be looked down upon it for not functioning well without it?

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