LIS Student Day in the Life

Inspired by the evermore popular “Librarian Day in the Life” Series, HackLibSchool is proud to welcome guest author Rose Chou. Rose approached us and suggested an article on Time Management, which she included in a section below. As busy as we all are, how does one find time to live between work, school and responsibilities? How do you do it? Look for a related posts coming in the future from HLS contributing writer Lauren Gibaldi titled, “How to Make Time for Library School,” and this Friday from Micah Vandegrift on “How I Hacked Library School – WEB APPS!!

Rose is a first year MLIS student at San Jose State University. She blogs at AnthroArchivist and is on Twitter @roselovec

Librarian Day in the Life – LIS Student Edition: Rose

9:15am:  Wake up and make coffee.  9:15 seems pretty late to wake up on a weekday, but it’s because I’ll be at work until 12:30am — and I want to make sure I’m alert through all of it.

9:30-11:00am:  Check email, Google reader (almost 200 new articles!), and Twitter.
Click through for the rest of Rose’s day!
11:00am-12:15pm:  Check class discussion boards and prepare to view manuscripts later in the afternoon for a class assignment. 

12:15-1:15pm:  Prep to leave the apartment (shower, get dressed).  Eat lunch while working on the wiki for my manuscript project. 

1:15-1:45pm:  Commute via metro to the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. 

1:45-2:00pm:  I arrived a little early for my research appointment, so I briefly visited two cool exhibits — Paper Engineering and First Ladies at the Smithsonian.

2:00-3:30pm:  Look at two 15th century manuscripts for a class project.  I took a lot of pictures and made extensive notes on the physical description and script.

3:30-4:15pm:   Commute via metro to American University, where I work at the library.

4:15-5:00pm:  I finished with the manuscripts earlier than anticipated, so I took advantage of the extra time to do some leisure reading.  I’m currently reading The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family’s Century of Art and Loss.  I also read this book on the metro — I can’t put it down!

5:00pm-12:30am:  Work at the AU Library, spending most of the time at the Circulation Desk.  Monday night is the only closing shift I have — most of my other shifts are closer to typical work hours.  I don’t mind the odd hours one day a week because it allows me to do things that are normally closed outside of the regular 9-5, such as going to the Dibner Library to do research.

12:30-1:00am:  Commute back home via bus and/or cab.

1:00-2:30am:  Upload manuscript pictures from my camera, edit and add them to my project wiki.  Write this blog post!

2:30am:  Sleep.

On time management…

In addition to taking two online classes, I work full-time Sunday through Thursday and volunteer on Fridays — so my only day “off” is Saturday.  To ensure I’m able to complete all my school work and have a social life, I meticulously plan out all my chunks of time outside of work and volunteering.

To manage my time, I use both Google Calendar and a paper planner.  In addition to keeping track of assignment due dates and social plans, I assign which day of the week I will work on a specific class assignment — such as reading, listening to lectures, and writing discussion posts.  I usually try to leave Sunday unscheduled as a catchall for any unproductiveness (which inevitably happens!).  I also look ahead at the next week’s workload to anticipate if I need to start working on a larger project that requires more time.  Having all my school work planned out really helps me determine when I can be available to meet up with friends.  I know, it sounds crazy — but if I didn’t plan out all my time, I think I’d be really stressed out.  This type of detailed planning probably only works if you follow it, which I try my very best to do.

I know I’m not the only student juggling multiple responsibilities — how do you manage your time?

14 replies

  1. It’s nice to see there are other folks out there that are trying to fit grad school in on top of a work schedule! Particularly in the online sphere. I’m hoping we’ll be able to get some great discussions going in the blog about the trials and tribulations of an online degree vs a full-time residential path. 🙂

    And I really wish I had something brilliant to say about how best to manage your time, but honestly I’m still trying to figure that out for myself. At the moment, I work during the day, so I spend my evenings either doing homework and working on projects, or guiltily procrastinating. I use both Google Calendar and a giant whiteboard calendar that I can’t possibly ignore to keep due dates and meetings straight, and that’s been working so far.

    Great post, Rose!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Katie – Actually Britt Foster and I wrote some back and forth posts on the topic of the on-campus vs. online MLIS program. You can find them on our personal blogs.

    As for time management, I don’t know that there is ever a good way to do it, especially since a lot of LIS students are doing this degree while working. In my own experience, I have been perpetually under the gun and to the last minute in library school, something I NEVER would have allowed in my other academic pursuits. On top of school, work, and life, there is always the looming knowledge that you have to “put yourself out there” by reading and commenting on other blogs, pursuing your own interests outside of class, etc, and I’ve found that that actually takes a larger portion of my time than school, especially now that I am on the job market.

    I will say Web Apps help. Will write that up in a post on Friday.


    • Isn’t that the truth? I know you’ve tweeted about how library school sometimes gets in the way of becoming a librarian, and I feel that every day in these last few months of the degree.


  3. Rose, reading your post, I started longing for the days of public transportation. The PT here in LA is terrible (I was very spoiled by the transit in San Francisco). As my schedule has gotten more crammed, I don’t take PT hardly at all, because things get scheduled so close together, I can’t risk our poopy buses… plus, it seems, I always have forty pounds of books or huge poster boards to get some place. I really miss PT for being a time-management tool! I used to use it to do my reading for classes, or to update my calendar. Sometimes I would claim Muni time for myself, and knit while listening to music, or read something for fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a great point! When I lived in Arizona, my commute was at least 40 minutes each way — and while I could listen to the radio while driving, not much really gets done except for driving. Public transportation definitely provides me with forced time to do some reading.


  4. I’m glad I’m not the only one struggling with time management. In undergrad, I was in school fulltime, and always seemed to have time to socialize and get homework turned in on time. I did have a job….but 20 hrs a week max. Now in grad school, I work 40 hrs, and only take two classes….but there is never enough time….and I’m always feeling a little frazzled. Still trying to find the magical balance that makes everything flow together seamlessly, and allows all my work to be turned in early. :oP


  5. I really miss actually being on campus and having time in between classes to study and catch up. If I’m at home, I end up thinking about the chores that need to be done and I get way too stressed out to focus on school. I like to grab my laptop and go to a cafe with wifi so that I’m in a place where I can only do schoolwork and nothing else. I choose cafes over libraries because I don’t have to leave to get something to eat or drink.


  6. Thank you for posting your schedule. I enjoy reading about time management and seeing how people plan their time.

    I do note that you spend nearly 3 hours in the morning checking emails and reading online. Is that too much? Is it enough? Is the internet our tool? Or are we its prisoners? — gh (student at the Palmer School/NY)


  7. My life savers are Omnifocus, iCal, Gmail, my computer and my phone. If I could figure out a way to put iCal and Omnifocus together, I would be unstoppable! Haha. Great read.


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