I’m starting the first semester of my second year of my LIS masters degree at the University of Tennessee, School of Information Sciences. So far this semester, I’ve felt pretty overwhelmed because I’m taking very tech heavy classes with loads of new terminology. Last week, one of the other Hack Library School writers wrote to say that they may not be able to get their post out on time because their brain is just overloaded. I related to that. (Thankfully, we at HLS believe it is an avocation for us, so if we need to let a post slide to give time to our classes, so be it.)
Recently, I was thinking “how will I ever master these terms?” Then it hit me: I had the same thought last Spring. And then it hit me again: I had the same thought last Fall! Apparently, this is not new. And at the end of the day, I made it through those semesters just fine. So I’m here to tell you students, new ones and old ones, that it’s normal to feel overwhelmed early in the semester (heck, even later in the semester!). You’re not the first student to feel that way, and you won’t be the last. Feeling overwhelmed is a natural part of the process of learning a completely new field. What you’re experiencing is what everyone feels when immersed in a new language, and that’s just what you’re doing — learning a new language. First year students get dropped into a new world and get lots of new terms thrown at them almost all at once. You’re sure to feel the overload. But take a breath, don’t hyperventilate, and relax. I promise you it gets better. It takes several weeks of being immersed in a new language before it even begins to sound normal. But I guarantee you that, over time, the terms will begin to make sense, and they will become a normal part of your vocabulary.
I’ve pulled together some posts from HLS that deal with the stresses of being a library school student, because they contain a wealth of information on how to deal with that stress. Everyone of us feel it and we all deal with it differently, but we all have to deal with it somehow. I hope you will find something in one of these posts that will help you get by. Just find that one thing that is the lifeboat for your stress, and remember…IT GETS EASIER!
It’s OK to Not Have Time
The Finals Push: Dealing with Your Stress
How I Learned to Keep Worrying and Love Library School
Work/Life Balance in Library School
You are Now an Information Professional: First Year Reflections