With the holiday season wrapping up (pun intended) and the New Year quickly approaching, do you have your 2014 resolutions list made yet?
I am a huge fan of making lists, so the New Year always gives me the perfect opportunity to make another. Since I will be graduating next May my list includes things I want to accomplish while I am still a library student — also because it is too scary to plan anything post-graduation. Other than applying for jobs and networking, I also want to spend my last semester taking advantage of student discounts and the flexibility of grad life. Below is a broad list of my library student wishes and goals, but feel free to steal and adapt as your own!
- Just say “no”: One of my favorite things about library school is the option for volunteering and professional development throughout the year. I have also learned some of us are very bad at saying “no” and need help balancing school and life — and I am at the top of that list. Between overloading this past Fall semester with classes, volunteer sites and extra responsibilities I am ready for a break. Next semester I am taking fewer classes and have already said “no” to a couple volunteer opportunities that will not necessarily advance my professional goals. While it is always hard turning down new opportunities, I will be thankful for the extra time when I am amidst job hunting, moving to a new city and cracking down on finals.
- Think like a professional: I have been searching for an iPad case online and found my Amazon wish list full of multi-colored, striped and polka dotted options. Then I tried picturing myself in a library board meeting taking notes and realized that was not how I wanted to represent myself in such a professional setting. While the library field is often said to promote more eclectic personalities, as a 23-year-old entering the work force for the first time I still feel the need to prove myself as a professional and will probably be opting for the black leather case for now. Read more professional tips here.
- Network: Networking should always be somewhere on a professional’s list. I have already registered to attend next year’s PLA conference in Indianapolis and ALA Annual in Vegas where I plan on passing out business cards and making use of the JobLIST Placement Center. Locally it is also easy to get more involved in student organizations and to build an online presence. More networking tips that I will be using are also found here, here, and here.
- Learn online: While I am trying to say “no” more next semester, there are still things I want to do before graduating. Top on my list is learning to code and basic cataloging. My school does happen to offer a wide range of courses, but that means more credits and more money. Luckily free online learning sites have been aplenty recently and I can learn at my own pace through various online resources and Coursera even offers a Metadata course!
- Be active on social media: Personally I believe I already have quite a presence on various social media sites, but professionally I could be doing better. Recently I created a separate Twitter account so I can separate personal and professional tweets, and I am also becoming more active on Goodreads by updating my reading progress and submitting (brief) reviews. Other hackers share social media tips here and here.
- Save money: As a soon-to-be grad in the non-profit/public sector with her fare share of student debt, I cannot be splurging on many things in the near future. This resolution mainly means I will be sitting down with my monthly expenses to calculate a tight budget and an emergency savings plan. Some finance management tools I have been using are Mint and Tuition.IO. For those with some time left in library school, also check out scholarship options or find ways to stretch your tuition money to its furthest.
- Find “my” job: Despite my graduation date in May, I started applying for jobs this November. With a slow job market in public libraries and my limited search area (Chicago/Northern Illinois) I wanted to make sure to be ahead of the curve. Even though I have a couple months before I need to buckle down if I am still without an offer, I have already started thinking about applying to jobs to pay the bill versus jobs to advance my chosen career field. While this may be a possible reality, a recent INALJ article discussed how patience is the best method during the job search — even if it lasts for 11 months. Also check out this HLS post for beginning the library job search.
- Make time for me: Last but not least, I need to get better at having “me” time. Between networking, planning finance budgets and looking for a job I still need to find time to focus on my personal life. Some smaller goals to help me stay centered include doing yoga more, reading at least a chapter a day and building my relationship with family and friends. More reasons to make time for some personal downtime found here and here. You can also peruse the HLS Pinterest and Twitter for more ideas.
What plans and goals do you have for 2014? How does my New Year resolutions list compare to yours? Make sure to leave a comment or bring the conversation over to Twitter @CayMcCoy.