Student Snippets

A WINDOW INTO THE DAILY LIFE AND THOUGHTS OF SLIS STUDENTS

Some Thoughts on Cars and Parking Permits

Hello, people of the world! I'd like to pass along some practical advice about what it's like to bring your out of state car to Massachusetts, because there are a number of things I've had to learn the hard way since I did just that a couple of weeks ago.

First off, there are a number of cities in the Greater Boston Area that will require you to have a street parking permit if you aren't lucky enough to land in a place with a driveway or garage. Know that you have been blessed by the parking gods if such fortune falls upon your head. And since the spaces in the lot behind my apartment complex were already filled up, I was in need of such a permit. I made a big, fat assumption that since I was a grad student living here temporarily, I'd still be able to get some kind of permit. Oh, I was wrong. So very wrong.

It turns out that when you're living here and have your vehicle here, you're required to register said vehicle in MA. And I had to do just that if I even wanted to think about parking my car in the vicinity of where I am living. *deep sigh* So I've been jumping through hoops and filling out all sorts of paperwork and couch-surfing at the homes of various friends who DO have available street parking (which I'm super grateful for and has been very fun and sweet, actually) until all this gets settled. Fingers crossed that it will be soon!

Another note- Be sure to order an E-ZPass transponder for when you're taking toll roads.

Anyway, if you're planning to bring your car here like I did, I hope to save you some of the hassle I've been through! I'm leaving a link below to the state government's blog that provides all sorts of handy information, from what all you need to do to the paperwork you'll need to bring when you brave the lines at the RMV. There's also another link for setting up an E-ZPass account and ordering the transponder. Best of luck to you!

http://blog.mass.gov/blog/living-in-massachusetts/moving-to-massachusetts-part-2-drivers-licenses-and-motor-vehicle-registration/

https://www.ezdrivema.com/ezpassma

 

Boston | Real World


Pondering the Future

So, readers, my little summer break is almost over.  My new class starts next week (LIS 415: Information Organization).  As I've mentioned in a previous post, it's an online class again and I'm excited to start.  I am a little bit ambivalent about the shorter timeframe, but I'm really excited about the topic and I've already started in on the reading. 

Over the past few weeks I've been pondering my future a lot.  Currently, I'm doing the Archives Management concentration within the MS in Library and Information Science program.  Even though I'm near the beginning of the program and am still taking my core classes, I can't help but wonder whether or not the Archives Management track is right for me and if I should instead be doing the design-your-own option.  I've been doing a lot of informal networking lately, and through my discussions with other librarians I've started to think about what I really want to do with my life once I graduate from Simmons, and if archives will play a role in that.  I started to think about this when doing course planning and seeing all of the awesome LIS classes Simmons has to offer and trying to pick what electives I'd want to take in the future.  It's just so hard to choose as all of the classes sound so fascinating.  On one hand, I don't think I'll fully know whether or not archives are for me until I actually take an archives class.  I don't think I could go wrong either way, but I feel I'll miss out on something great, whether it be some amazing electives or archives classes, no matter what I choose.  But, this is the time to figure out what I want.  Right now, I work in an academic library as a reference assistant and I love it, so maybe academic libraries are my future!  Maybe something completely different!  Who knows what the future could hold for me- but the one thing I do know is that I'm going to love each and every class I'm going to take at Simmons. 

If you want to learn more about the course offerings at SLIS click here.

Getting a Job | Librarians | Real World | Summer | classes | skills


Books and Adaptations

Hello again! I am back in Boston as of late last night (early this morning) and they weather is gorgeous.  I read many great books while abroad including a thriller/mystery series. My sister-in-law had obtained a collection of books from the UK author Ann Cleves. These books are great mystery books and the Vera series has been made into a television series in the UK (which we can watch here in the States on Hulu).  These series remind me of Agatha Christie series with Hercule Poirot.  Great for summer time beach reading of you're into that sort of thing.

Reading these books got me thinking about books that have been adapted into television and movies.  I feel that most popular books have now been adapted into a film or television series. Often, people only know about the adaptation before learning that it was a book first (with the exception of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games). The Divergent series, The Maze Runner series, The Book Thief, and Riverdale as well as Lemony Snicket as Netflix series just to name a few of the Young Adult books/comics. Jaws and Jurassic Park were books first as well.  This is the tip of the iceberg. 

What does this mean for LIS and Children's Literature as a program of study at Simmons and how should we approach the subject as students and later, professional? I believe it is something that should be considered and thought about because I do not see this trend going anywhere. Should adaptations be considered as an approach to those who are aspiring authors, or would this be considered selling out?  I do not know.  Is it something we should leave alone altogether as students? I think it would be interesting to see course work related to this topic even if it was just a small section of the course.  Perhaps it already is! As a fairly new student in the CL program I have a lot to discover and I am looking forward to it all.

 Until next time!

Books | Children's Literature | Fun | Summer | reading


The Summer Interlude

Well readers, I was right - my enthusiasm for school seems to be dutifully returning now that I've had a sufficient break. My online class, LIS456: Records Management, starts in a week and I am looking forward to it. As a bonus, the instructor put the entire course up on Moodle way ahead of time and encouraged us to start the readings and lectures early - if we so desired. I am very pleased that he did this and it makes a lot of sense for an online, asynchronous, self-directed class. Our professor has acknowledged that folks may have trips and other things going on during the summer and has given us the capability to manage our time and plan accordingly - increasing our chances for success in the course. Thank you, Professor Wood!

 As it so happens, my family will be embarking on our first big trip of the summer the very week that class starts. I'll be spending the first day of class at Hershey Park, PA. Woo hoo! I have mixed feelings about online classes that I'm sure I'll share with you in the weeks ahead, but there can be no denying their convenience. How else could I be attending a Simmons course while taking summer vacation? After Hershey we're going to head down to my "home" (a.k.a Grandma and Grandpa's house) in southwestern Virginia and spend several weeks there, as we usually do. I can picture it now: sitting on the front porch with my feet propped up, a cold Diet Coke beside me, typing away on my laptop while gazing out at the Blue Ridge Mountains. That's the life right there.

 In other news, I've done some local exploring over the past couple weeks and found two beautiful nature preserves tucked away right here in Fairfield county, CT. Because my wonderful husband took the kids to his family in New Jersey for a few days, I was able to get out and go explore these areas on my own. While it may not be the safest way to hike, it's probably my favorite. I love to be alone with my own thoughts out in the woods. It was just what I needed to restore my internal balance and charge my batteries for another round of class.

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Classes | Fun | Online | Summer


Summer Reading

It's time for another book list! Here's what I'm currently diving into, and one more that I'm planning to pick up from the library ASAP.

Needful Things by Stephen King- I haven't read a good scary book in a while. Well, that's not true. I did read The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani, which thoroughly unsettled me. I would not suggest that one if you are a mother looking to hire childcare anytime soon. The kind of scary I'm talking about is the supernatural horror variety, and King is my go to author for that particular brand. I'm only a few pages in, and once again he's taken me right into the small-town life and happenings of Castle Rock, Maine. He has this enchanting way of writing characters, dialogue, and setting that transports me inside of the story. It's fantastic, and it also guarantees that I'm going to be frightened at least a few times. I can't wait :)

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert- Yes, I'm reading this one again. I think it's going to be one of those books that I return to every few months. It was on sale at a bookstore I found in Vermont last weekend, which I took as a sign that I had to buy it then and there, so now I can underline and make notes to my heart's delight. I've been listening to a number of podcasts with Gilbert as a co-host or interviewee, and I just love her ideas about creative, amplified living and cultivating a lifestyle where we choose curiosity and playfulness versus being crippled by fear. Phew. I'm working on it, and she's a huge inspiration.

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan- I'm trying to make my way through some of the more well-known works of feminist literature, and this is one of them! The chapter on the history of feminism in America has been one of my favorites, and made me realize there are so many incredible women who I have never heard of (ex. Julia Ward Howe, Lucy Stone), along with women I have heard of but wish to learn more about (ex. Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony). There's not much to be said for intersectionality in this book and it's certainly a product of its time, but I've been alarmed to realize it was only 50-ish years ago that young men and women were being educated and pigeonholed into strict roles of breadwinners and housewife-mothers. It's an attitude that still pervades today, even if it's not as prevalent, and it's easy to see why when Friedan references certain magazine articles, fiction, research, and textbook materials that used to be widely spread and accepted in our society. I still have about half of the book left, and I'm interested to see what else unravels.

Insurrection: To Believe Is Human, To Doubt, Divine by Peter Rollins- I've been listening to Rollins, a philosopher and theologian hailing from Northern Ireland, here and there since last fall. It's only been in recent weeks that I've started taking more keen interest in his work, and I was real excited to find out that he has a few books published. I'm not sure what to expect from this one, but I imagine it will be awesome. Whether you're spiritual or religious or not interested in any of that whatsoever, Rollins is a fantastic thinker and speaker, and he has a great accent to boot. He asks great questions and forces the reader/listener to contemplate, which I appreciate a lot.

As an end note, I'd also like to diversify the titles that I'm reading. As you can see above, these authors are Western Caucasians, which is all well and good, but there are a whole lot of other authors out there in the world! I would love to do something like Ann Morgan spoke about in her TED talk, where she read a book from every single country. That sounds so, so cool and exciting to me. I have to dash off to work now, but thanks for stopping by, and happy reading to you!

Summer | reading


Local Discoveries

I'm not going to lie, I've kind of failed on the planned adventuring. As I said last time in my post, I was planning on discovering more of Massachusetts on the weekends, and I was going to plan out my trips, and report back. I had a great adventure planned to write about, but unfortunately it didn't happen. I initially planned to go into Boston and meet up with my sister (to see her for the first time in five months!) and I had a list of places to go, things to do, where to eat; however, I was unaware that first, the MBTA is doing construction on the Commuter Rail that I take on the weekends and that has messed with the schedule, and second, that Boston Calling was this past weekend, so I did not end up going to Boston. 

However, I have made some discoveries about Massachusetts in my own neck of the woods. For example, the wildlife. So, as someone who is not from New England, I have had encounters with wildlife before. In Colorado, we had mountain lions, bears, and deer. Seriously, so many deer. And the deer were kind of domesticated too, as in they looked both ways before crossing the street. In North Carolina, we allegedly had deer, but the entire time I lived there, I never saw a living one. I saw possums, geese, and a lot of squirrels. However, in Massachusetts, I have been introduced to a new animal in my backyard: wild turkeys. I know, most people don't find this anywhere near as fascinating as I do, but when there's like five turkeys in your backyard and you've never really seen a wild turkey before it's kind of exciting. The turkeys are also big, and they puff their feathers out, and there are so many of them

Another thing that is unique to Massachusetts compared to other areas where I have lived, is that there seems to be a lot of farms/farm stores. In North Carolina (or at least in the area where I lived) there were some farms, but they were more industrial and not really in the city. There were some farm stands, but in the area where I lived they were few and far between. However, there's an abundance farms that have stores where you can buy produce and other goods and get a bite to eat near where I live. Some of these farms even produce their own ice cream, have their own breweries, or let you pick your own produce. I've been trying to visit some of these farms because buying local is always good.  I went on an outing this past weekend and visited two farms in the area: Water Fresh Farm Marketplace in Hopkinton, MA and Outpost Farm in Holliston, MA. I had a great experience at both farms, and if you ever see some local farms/farm stores in your area you may want to stop by. 

Boston | Fun | Relaxing | Summer


A Much Needed Break

I'm afraid I don't have any exciting summer adventures to report on yet; with my son's preschool still in session our summer hasn't officially started. To be quite honest, I've been laying pretty low since the semester ended. I've written no blogs (until this one), largely ignored my school email, and given barely any thought to school or libraries. I've also been sick almost the entire time (thanks kids) which has necessitated taking it easy. That means watching shows, reading books, and playing silly games on my phone. But the best part of my break so far has been all the unstructured quality time I've been able to spend with my family, without the worry of school deadlines weighing me down and subtly siphoning away my energy and attention. My husband and kids are thrilled to have mommy back in full for a little while.

And yes, as others have mentioned, spring is in full swing here in New England. It's that brief and magical time of year when the house needs no heating or cooling - a few open windows does the trick. The insects are beginning to reappear but have not become a nuisance yet and the rain is charming and soothing. It's one of the few times of the year that I can lord it over my friends in Virginia, who are already contending with heat and humidity.

It's lovely, it's relaxing, it's easy right now - the exact opposite from life a month ago. It's given me time to think about the big picture, and about what happens after graduate school. Unfortunately my thoughts have been tending more toward the "will this all be worth it?" variety. Honestly if I had to start classes again tomorrow I think I would be dreading it. Let's chalk it all up to a "mid-program slump" and the fact that I really needed a break. There are still about three more weeks until my online class starts, and I feel confident that by then I will be ready to dive in again. Thank goodness for the seasons and the cycles in our lives that bring variety and balance and keep life interesting.

Real World | Relaxing | Summer


E-Readers, Tree Books, Libraries & Traveling

Currently I am in Manchester England.  The UK is a place I visit often as my husband is from England.  I was never much of the E-reader type.  I like to hold my books, collect them, smell them, all the things people like us in the LIS & Children's Literature programs are all too familiar with.  I tried E-readers in the past and could never get behind them.  It didn't feel real.  Even traveling back and forth from the UK I would lug Jonathan Frazen, Stephen King, or any of my 350+ pages of YA books across the pond.  My in-laws and husband would smile at my efforts and my diligence in my devotion to the book I was reading. (The idea behind Frazen was that if I brought a long enough book I wouldn't have to bring several smaller books, logical right?)

I did begin to utilize the public library system over here, which was a huge help and downsized the small personal library I brought with me everywhere.  Plus, it was interesting exploring another country's public library system and comparing them. Liverpool has been my favorite library thus far. Very modern but has a fantastic reading room that was the old library, so it has all the English feels about it. 

Lately, though, I finally have got behind the e-reader trend (not so much a trend anymore is it?).  Not for all my books, but for a lot of them. The app Libby is great because you can utilize your local library's ebook selection.  You can browse from the app and download the book in just a few minutes.  The only downside when traveling with the app is you have to have internet connection to access the books. Which can be a problem if you are on the train abroad without a connection and just want to read your book. I still carry a paperback with me just for this reason.  I also enjoy Apples iBook app because I can instantly buy a book and have it in my library.  No need for wifi once you have bought a book here.  Having an e-reader just makes sense when you are traveling and literally lightens your cargo making room for more clothes and shoes and gifts!

Happy summer! Until next time!

Books | Fun | Relaxing | Summer


Summer Travels

Greetings from Amarillo, Texas--home of the Big Texan 72 oz. Steak Challenge, truly epic thunderstorms, and according to a 2016 article by The Weather Channel, it's the windiest city in America. Another fun fact? A-Town's record wind speed clocked in at 84 mph back in 1949, and I would imagine the tornado passing by the instrumentation less than a mile away may have had something to do with that.

Anyway, here I am hanging out with my younger brother, caffeinating with a coconut chai, and smack dab in the middle of my cross-country road trip. It's hard to fathom that I was at home in Somerville just last Saturday. Since then I've been to California to watch one of my dearest friends tie the knot, flown to Texas to spend time with my family, and made a quick trip back to my hometown in Oklahoma to visit my Grams. Y'all. It has been the definition of a whirlwind. I'm zonked from traveling and switching up time zones, and I'm only at the halfway mark. This weekend I'll drive my missed and beloved car all the way back up to Massachusetts. If you're wondering how long the trip is, I'll span roughly 1,950 miles in three days' time. Does that make me crazy? *cue the Gnarls Barkley song* Yes, it might make me crazy, but I think a few days on the open road will do me a world of good...granted I don't get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. I've had a hard time letting myself decompress and be still since classes finished, and even though it may seem counterintuitive, I have a feeling this road trip will help me recalibrate.

Here are a few pictures from my travels thus far: Lake Mission Viejo in CA, a sunset in OK, and some fun chalk art on the menu at a favorite local coffee shop in TX.

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Fun | Relaxing | Summer


Summer is Here!

Within the past two to three weeks the weather has finally warmed up!  Today it was 85 degrees outside!  Can you believe it?!  I can barely believe that just a few short weeks ago I was wearing a parka.  Practically overnight all the trees have leafed out and everything is now so green.  It just suddenly appeared.  This is the weather I have been waiting for!  However, as I am writing this post, there is currently a tornado warning and it is pouring rain, so I guess I can't have everything. 

As I mentioned last time, I'm done with classes and I have a bit of a break before my next class starts on June 19, so I'm taking advantage of my time off to try and discover more of Massachusetts on the weekends, as I am kind of new to the area.  Also, once class starts, I still want to try and explore while the weather is nice.  A few months ago, I found the Massachusetts Office of Tourism and Travel's website while working on an assignment for class, and now I've been using it while looking up places to visit, things to do, and where to eat.  Also, they have a culinary tourism section of the website that has a calendar of food fairs and festivals, if you're in to that like I am.  My goal is to try and explore as much of Massachusetts as I can, whether it be further away, or just close to home.  I'll keep you updated with my discoveries!

Also, a quick note about my blog from last time.  I wrote about Tempests and Slaughter, Tamora Pierce's new book.  I mistakenly wrote that it was released in November 2017.  It was actually released in February 2018.  Sorry if there was any confusion!

Fun | Summer | Weather | classes


Simmons Connect

I wanted to mention how helpful Simmons Connect has been for me this semester.  It was my first web-based experience with Simmons (other than simmons.edu).  This is where you find out your registration start date and times, how you register for classes (very important), view your schedule, check your email, find events happening around campus, access campus print (another super important one), any way you get the idea. 

Access to Simmons Connect keeps you on schedule with the school, but another aspect I really like is students can post things here (through a mediator of course).  People looking for babysitters, jobs, sublets, and important updates you need to know such as the library only being open to students during finals (don't forget your student ID!).  I found my summer sublet here from a fellow student who is in the Social Work graduate program.  I really like knowing we can sublet from other students; it feels a bit safer.  When you are new to a city, craigslist can be a bit daunting with unfamiliar locations, safe/unsafe locations, proximity to Simmons, and then the whole idea of living with strangers (!). Trusting your space, or your children, or whatever it may be, with someone within the Simmons community takes away a lot of the anxieties some of us feel.  So, log into Simmons Connect to touch base with your program, shop for a new apartment, or find a babysitter, it does it all!

SLIS | Students


The Prettiest Afternoon

I went on a lovely little outing this past Saturday! I met a friend at Copley Square and we went to treat ourselves at L.A. Burdick's, an amazing and decadent chocolatier that I highly suggest you try at least once in your life. After we had armed ourselves with drinking chocolate--yep, that's a real thing--and pastries, we made our way over to the Public Garden and then strolled into the Beacon Hill neighborhood. The city was pulsing with activity, with everyone coming out to sunbathe and play and enjoy the general splendor of the afternoon. It. Was. Delightful.

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 Once we had finished up there, I was off to pick up a new library book...one of many that are piling up in my room now that the semester is over and I can genuinely read for pleasure...called The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin. I recently joined a sci-fi feminist book club, which promises to be awesome on a whole lot of levels, and Le Guin's book is next up in our queue.

 I'll be traveling all over the country here in the next couple of weeks, and will look forward to sharing some of my journey with all of you! But for now, I'll leave you with a few local snapshots from my day about town.

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Boston | Fun


First Semester: Complete!

As of 11:55 PM last night, my first semester at Simmons is over!  Not that I was counting the minutes or anything.  All of my lectures are done, readings completed, and my final project has been TURNED IN!  Even though this class was a lot of work, I loved every minute of it and learned so much.  As I said last week, I'm really proud of everything I've accomplished this semester, and now I have a break from schoolwork until mid-June, which is when my summer class starts. 

Because I have had absolutely no free time whatsoever for the past few weeks until today because of school, stress, and personal life issues, I am a little bit relieved that I will be having a break from schoolwork, just for a little while.  As I will now be having free time, I plan on catching up on some reading.  I've really been slacking off-  I'm a voracious reader, and I usually try and read several books a month but I've been so busy lately I haven't had the time.  Also, as someone who is studying to be a librarian, I really feel that I should be reading more than I am right now. 

Here are some of the books that are on my reading list for the upcoming weeks:

  • Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce
    • I adored Tamora Pierce's Tortall books when I was a teenager and I've been waiting for her book on Numair to come out since high school.  I've been hearing about this book for over ten years, and it was finally released in November 2017.  I'm so excited to read it, and it's the first of the Numair Chronicles, which means it's going to be a series.  I haven't actually read anything by her in years, so I might have to give her other books a quick skim to reacquaint myself with the universe. 
  • I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamera
    • In case if you missed the news, the Golden State Killer was caught last week.  The late Michelle McNamera poured her heart and soul into this book, which was released posthumously in February 2018, and I've been looking forward to reading it ever since I read an article about it a few months ago.  It has a foreword by Gillian Flynn (author of Gone Girl) and an afterword by Patton Oswalt (the author's husband).
  • Circe by Madeline Miller
    • I always have been fascinated by Greek mythology and epic poems like the Iliad and the Odyssey, and this book, which was released in April 2018, seems right up my alley.  People who have read the Odyssey might remember that Circe played a role in Odysseus' tale and that she is the daughter of the god Helios.  This book is about her story, and it sounds like a fascinating read.  The author also wrote The Song of Achilles, which was a different take on the Iliad and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes Greek mythology/epics. 
  • Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
    • This was one of the best books of 2015, and I somehow missed it.  I came across it when doing research for my final project (I was in a bookstore and I was supposed to be looking for books on a completely different subject and I just happened to wander into the fiction section.  I know.  I'm terrible.)  It's about the exploration of a marriage and it sounds like a fascinating read. 
  • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
    • I am a HUGE Neil Gaiman fan, and I have read most of his works, but I have not read this one.  I saw it in the library a few months ago, and it's been on my reading list for a while, and I'm excited to finally read it.  Also, I highly recommend all of his work, especially Good Omens, which is his collaboration with the late Terry Pratchett.  

Books | Fun | SLIS | Summer | classes | reading


Third semester: It's a wrap!

I'm all done with my third semester at SLIS West!!! Even though my courses this semester were in many ways "easier" than my others, I don't think I've ever experienced such a massive sense of relief. There was a lot going on in my personal life these past few weeks that made the end a major struggle. For example, the first thing I did once classes were over was to finally take my poor ailing five-year old to the doctor and find out he has a double ear infection (ouch!). I am a worrier by nature, and two things guaranteed to create a lot of worry for me are school and sick children.

The difficult thing about being a mom AND a grad student is that you literally get no break. You're with the kids all day long, and any "personal time" you manage to etch out must go to homework. You can't just go to bed early one night if you're super tired because then you'll get behind in your homework and there will be no time to catch up. The important thing is, I survived with my honor intact (I think). Both my presentations on Saturday went off without a hitch, even though I didn't practice, and even though I got NO sleep the night before. Dare I say that giving presentations is becoming easier? It should get easier eventually, right?

Now I'm more than halfway through my degree with five classes left. I had been toying with the idea of cramming them all into the rest of the year so I could finish in December, but I've since scrapped that option. The course offerings and availability weren't in my favor, and I also decided it might be too much. Most of us at SLIS West take two courses per semester or less. I have heard of some people doing three, and it's always spoken of in hushed tones of awe and wonder. "How do they do that?" we all ask. I also didn't want to take that many online classes. I value the face-to-face experience a lot; enough to drive two hours both ways for it.

I will be taking an online class over the summer, so I'm sure you'll be hearing from me here and there. And if you're wondering why the in-person experience is so worth it, just check out our SLIS West class picture below. Many of these people have become my good friends and have greatly enriched my time at SLIS West. Some of them are graduating and they will be missed. Aren't we the motley crew?

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Finals | People | SLIS West | Students | classes


The End is Near

I have less than one week until my first semester is over.  My final project is due next Tuesday, May 1, and then I am done with my first semester at Simmons.  I'm happy, stressed, excited, and terrified all at the same time because it's crunch time and I'm working away on my project and I can see my deadline looming closer but I know I have a break coming up (until my summer class starts).

This semester has gone by so fast and I'm so proud of the work I've done and all of the new skills I've acquired.  In just this one class, I've learned how to conduct reference interviews, I've learned about ready reference sources, I've learned about ethics and professional standards in the library and archives industries, I've learned a variety of new search strategies and techniques for databases and web sources, I've learned about evaluating information and resources, I've learned how to plan and create a basic instruction session, I've learned about making LibGuides, and so much more!  I think I picked the picked the perfect class to start with as it has given me such a great foundation to continue to build on during my time at Simmons, and all the skills I learned will be useful throughout my time here, and during my career.  If all my classes at Simmons are like this, I will be so prepared for my career.

Classes | Finals | classes | skills


Everyone's Talking About It...Wrap up + Career Fair Tidbits

Yep. How can we not talk about it?  One more semester (or the first as it is in my case) almost in the bag! One step closer to graduation and that coveted degree for us all.  I finally got into a routine with my school work, work, and how to make free time for myself about four weeks ago, just after Spring Break.  Funny how that works, but I will not argue about the end coming near.  It is a strange mix of stress and glee for me.  It is probably the only time I try to finish a paper early so that I can wrap up my semester early! This never works for me by the way, though I do feel the motivation to get on top of the work rather than the other way around.

This semester it seems that spring has decided to come the last couple weeks of our semester as well.  I will not complain about its delay, at least it happened! The flowers were planted and blooming before the weather warmed up, so I like to think as a city we collectively willed spring into showing up.  It makes the end extra special that we now get study free nights and beautiful sunny days. 

One last thing I wanted to mention, is the Career Fair was last week for the SLIS program.  I volunteered for this, and it was quite the turn out for students and employers.  SO many libraries in the Boston area turned up. Even J.Jill clothing had a table.  I will reiterate my theme I have mentioned in the previous post; that is, Simmons has the resources if you are willing to show up and take advantage.  It is excellent timing for the Career Fair for those who are just graduating and those who are looking for internships. I believe it is every April so take advantage of it next year!

Until next time guys!

Events | SLIS


Crunch Time

We've now entered the last two weeks of the semester, otherwise known as "crunch time." I have three end-of-semester projects on the horizon that I'm busily plugging away at. Now is the time when my kids get away with a little extra TV in the afternoons and I remind my husband daily, "just two more weeks...." The summer break is so close you can taste it, as it hovers like a sunny promise just out of reach. Oh how the pleasure reading and the hobbies and the home organization projects are calling! In my experience, you never know quite how the end will play out until it is suddenly upon you, but this semester (so far) I feel like the crunch won't be too bad.

The end of the semester is always an exciting time, and not just for the prospect of homework-free evenings. It represents the culmination of all we've been studying and working on throughout the semester and usually includes some kind of presentation in front of our peers. The project I'm most excited about is the database that I'm building. All semester in Database Management we've been going through the steps of designing our database conceptually while practicing our coding with sample tables. Now in these last few weeks, it's finally time to put our conceptual designs and coding knowledge into practice.

This means I've been spending significant portions of my week with a delightful little activity known as "debugging," which is basically diagnosing and solving problems with your code. You're grappling with a breakdown of communications between the human and the computer - something's been lost in the translation. Although it can be time-consuming and aggravating (some might say excruciating), I find the whole process extremely satisfying. If I've learned anything from my technology classes it's that there's always more than one solution. Sure you could find answers online or email your professor, but the most rewarding option is to work at it until you figure it out yourself. That moment when things suddenly become clear to you or the thing actually WORKS, you feel like you could conquer the world. Such a rush.

I know I've said this before, but if you come to library school with an open mind and a willingness to work hard, you will grow and develop in surprising ways. Wish me luck for the rest of crunch time!

Classes | Finals | SLIS | SLIS West | Technology


End of Semester Thoughts

I won't lie, y'all. It was hard for me to think of something to write about for my post today. I've actually been having a lot of trouble in that area where inspiration meets diligence lately...which, you might guess, and guess correctly, is not the nicest position to be in here at the end of semester when final papers and projects are due. Still, I'm showing up, and that's always a good first step!

Things are winding down, which is simultaneously a relief and bittersweet. It's surreal to think I'm almost done with my first year of the program (which flew by crazy fast), meaning I'm almost halfway through (how on earth did that happen?), meaning sooner rather than later I'll need to consider what I want to do and where I want to apply for jobs and live and start my actual adult life. Because strangely enough, I don't feel that it's started that yet. Being in school again makes me feel like I'm in a perpetual state of youth somehow. Anyway, I digress. Yes, things are all a bit crazy and up in the air, but I'd like to take some time and reflect on my experiences this spring and how grateful I am for each of them.

I just finished up a fantastic internship at Mount Auburn Cemetery. I had the privilege of volunteering in their historical collection, and on the few days where I had time and the weather wasn't a total buzzkill, I enjoyed a handful of serene walks through the property. I had not one, not two, but three classes this semester that required me to participate in regular discussions. I was pushed to not only participate more in class--I'm a bit on the reserved side, and am way more comfortable when it comes to putting words on paper than forming them into sentences that come out of my mouth--but I also had to engage more critically with the reading material than I would have if I knew I wasn't going to be talking about it. Finally, I was able to figure out a little more what I don't want to do. Example: I don't think that the paths of archivist or academic librarian are right for me, at least not at this point in my life, and the courses I took this semester helped me realize that. My mindset there is that those doors are closing so other ones can open.

I guess that about wraps it up! Hope all of you out there are enjoying some delightful spring weather. Please feel free to send some our way...Boston seems to have missed the memo that the season has officially changed...

SLIS


Job Hunt

Before I applied to Simmons, I did thorough research on the Master's of Library Science programs and what types of jobs you can get after you graduate.  Unfortunately, what I did not have was experience working in a library.  The only experience that I had working in a library was volunteering in middle school to help sign people up for the summer reading program (I'm pretty certain that doesn't count).  The thing that was stressed over and over in the information sessions that I attended before applying, and while meeting with my advisor, and in class was to get experience during your time at Simmons.  So, right now, I'm looking for that experience. 

The Archives Management concentration does require an internship course, LIS 438: Introduction to Archival Methods and Services, so I know I will get some experience when I take that class.  However, I'm not taking that class now so I'm hoping to find something before I take that class, whether it be a paid job, an internship, and/or more volunteer experience.  As I said before, SLIS really encourages getting work experience while at Simmons, so much so that they created the Simmons Jobline which advertises professional positions, pre-professional positions, internships, volunteer opportunities, and opportunities for current students.  The Jobline is an incredibly important tool and has been so useful to me in my job search. 

The SLIS program at Simmons is a professional program, so what I've found so far is that every reading, every assignment, every activity, and everything you learn in your classes is something useful and is something you can use in interviews.  You are not doing any busy work at SLIS- everything is for your future career.  Before I started this program, I actually had a few interviews at libraries and I wish I had the knowledge from the program to draw on, because then I might have a library job right now.  I recently had an interview for a part-time library position, and I felt it went so much better than the interviews I had before starting this program.  They've even called me back for a second interview.  Wish me luck, and I'll keep you posted on how it goes! 

If you are interested in the Simmons Jobline you can find it here here.

Getting a Job | Real World | SLIS


The Boston Marathon!

The Boston Marathon was yesterday and what a day for it! Being a new resident of the Northeast, I was not too keen on how big of a deal this was for the residents of Boston.  Of course, I have heard of the marathon, it is major, but being in the city to experience it first hand was a whole other thing.  Restaurants and bars offer free food and drinks to the runners, my local nail spa provided free manicures if you had a runner's bib, and that's what I noticed just walking down Beacon.

I have the pleasure of living only steps away from Beacon Street (not too great for studying- those cowbells are loud!), one of the last major stretches to the finish line on Boylston. First, the weather.  Holy moly. I am not a runner, but I can imagine this wasn't the most ideal condition for 26.2 miles of running.  What I understand is the streets are usually full of people cheering on the runners, but with yesterday's conditions, there were still so many people out with cowbells and cheering.  I happened to be in one of the less populated spots, so I made a point to go out and cheer these people on. I had the opportunity to run inside, warm up my hands, shake off the rain, and regroup, however.  It is amazing how the community comes together, conditions aside, to support everyone.  I imagined due to the horrific events five years ago this has created an even stronger community. The police and military presence made this all too real. However, it was a great comfort knowing these professionals were there to support and take care of the community.

Now that I am a Boston resident, it felt great to come together with Bostonians and people from around the country and world (!) to show support for these athletes.  I believe we had a student or two from Simmons who participated in this race as well. How amazing is that?

 Here are a few photos I snapped.  Desiree Linden! First American female to win in 33 years!

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Boston | Fun | New England | Weather