Word to Big Bird!

I’m done! Well, the first semester is done, and I’ve handed in all my assignments. Time for some happy dancing!

Note: In my quest to find a gif of Carlton from Fresh Prince doing his happy dance, I learned that Will used to say “word to big bird!” It’s gonna be the new rufus, guys, I’m telling you. You should probably start using it now. (FYI: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=rufus)

If you click on this image, you can see the happy dance. I think it’s worth a click.

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Well, I’ve survived the “core ” (that is what the first semester of library school is referred to as at UBC). The last three months were supposed to introduce me to the different areas of the field, teach me all the basics, and prepare me to take other, more specific courses. I think my experience of the core was quite a bit different than some of my classmates. I came into it with warning after warning that the first semester was the worst, and that I just needed to get through it. In the end, it wasn’t difficult in the way I expected- I thought the workload might be too heavy, or I wouldn’t get the grades I wanted, but for the most part, that wasn’t the case.

Surprisingly, the most difficult thing for me hinged on the fact that I knew exactly why I was there, and what I intended to do once I finished. This turned out to be way more of a disadvantage than an advantage, I think. I knew from my application experience that they were looking for a diverse range of open-minded individuals, so I shouldn’t have been surprised to find out that many of my classmates were

a) very open minded in terms of what they wanted to do with an MLIS,

b) had zero or little practical library experience (although some had lots), and

c) came from a wide range of backgrounds and countries.

Ultimately, there were a lot of times throughout the semester when I found myself frustrated when I was pushed to be more open minded and to consider other avenues. At first I was worried, and in my head I was kind of freaking out and thinking, “what’s wrong with knowing what I want?!”What I came to realize, was that while I spent most of my undergrad working in a variety of libraries and testing things out, many of my classmates had more recently decided to get an MLIS, and were still trying to find the right area within it to focus on. So, I don’t think I decided too early, I was just lucky enough to have the chance to figure it out when I did. Getting a broad overview of the library and information science world this semester was useful and interesting, but I’m really glad I’ve managed to emerge on the other side with the same passion and enthusiasm that I had for public libraries and children’s librarianship when I began.

So, what do I think I learned this semester?

Here’s some of the advice I might give to myself if I were to do the first semester over again…

  1. You don’t always need to do all of the readings that are assigned (I realized about halfway through the semester–it is best to be selective).
  2. Shocking people with an innocent facade and a calm but stubborn constitution is highly amusing (see one of my first posts re: censorship).
  3. Accept the fact that you’re a keener, and don’t be insulted if someone refers to you as one. Some of us are just easily excited and we’re born that way, so deal.
  4. Being organized and good at time management is, like, the best (and it will never get old).
  5. At the end of the semester, when you’re busy and distracted remember your student card so that you don’t have to stand outside the door of the school looking sad until someone lets you in.
  6. Commuting sucks. And traffic sucks more. And having to sit in traffic for an hour and forty-five minutes when you have an obscene amount of work to do sucks way more. But that’s life, so learn to meditate or something.

Okay, okay, some of those are kind of silly. I really did learn a lot- here’s a run-down by class.

LIBR 500: Foundations of Information Technology– most important thing I learned: don’t EVER do an assignment on your mac and just cross your fingers that it will transfer seamlessly onto a PC. It won’t happen, and you’ll be upset about it. Oh, and I learned how to build a database using MS Access. Hopefully that comes in handy one day.

LIBR 501: Foundations of the Information Society and Information Organizations–This class was interesting. I’d have to say that it was equal parts frustrating and informative. There were a lot of discussions, and a wide spread of opinions in the class. What was the most important thing I learned? It’s hard to say, since the course was an overview of all the different areas of the field. I guess it probably opened my eyes to some new concepts, and more interestingly opened my eyes to all the different opinions that are out there about the concepts.

LIBR 502: Foundations of Bibliographic Control
–I think that I learned the most in this class. I was pretty clueless about all of the topics we covered when we started, and now I feel like I have a much better understanding of the basics of cataloguing and classifying things. Not the most exciting of topics, but probably rather useful.

LIBR 503: Foundations of Information Sources and Services–I really enjoyed this class, and it was probably because I found the content to be extremely relevant, useful, and practical. When I interviewed for student librarian positions, most of the questions I answered used things I learned from this class, and I think that’s awesome.

Other than classes, I had some great experiences in the last three months. I met some cool people, I went to some cool extracurricular events, and I was pretty pumped to be doing it all at UBC. Last year, my goal was to get into the program- check! This semester my goal was two-fold: survive the core and get a job at the education library on campus (for Sept.2013)- check and check! Hmm…guess I need a new goal now. I’ll have to work on that.

Well, I think that’s a wrap until next semester (unless I come up with something brilliant to blog about before then)!

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