We know that as graduate students we have to do a capstone project our last semester. Usually this capstone is a thesis, which may be scary and overwhelming. Some graduate library programs offer a few options, for instance, conducting a study, doing an internship, or writing a thesis. Some students may choose to do the internship as it seems less overwhelming, and it is more hands on. While the thesis requires more research and focus on a specific point.
First we should consider the pros and cons to these options. What is best for you?
Most graduate students if not all have full-time jobs, which may be an important factor to consider if you want to choose the internship route. If you have the time, and are looking for some hands on experience why not do an internship? Get your hands a little dirty, and put in practice all you’ve learned in your program.
On the other hand there is the thesis route, which can be bit scary for many of us.We may think “What can I do some intense research on?” or ” How do I go about this?” . Well guess what we have some helpful information about thesis writing right here for you. You will find the information you may need to get started with your thesis. It could be difficult to choose writing a thesis if you are blindsided and don’t have a starting point. Our contributing writer Jessica Colbert did an excellent job providing us with this useful information. She also went that step further and created a part two for all you guys out there. Both these articles give us some piece of mind, yea it can get rough but if we have a clear idea on what we want we can totally pull it off. It does pay off at the end, and allows you to have infinite knowledge on that specific topic you’ve researched over and over.
Personally my program offers the students a choice, I decided that I wanted to go the internship route, and it’s turned out to be a lot of work ! It hasn’t even started, but there is alot of pre-paperwork involved. Crazy right! My program makes us responsible for selecting a site to do our internship. We are provided with a Host Application, which is given to the institutions we have a particular interest in. After that the host library will fill out the paper work, and send it to our internship coordinator. From that moment on we set up a meeting with our supervisors to finalize our schedules, and finally sign a learning contract. This contract stipulates what we are responsible for as interns, and the role our supervisors will play. It is interesting because, before starting your internship you are agreeing and getting a glimpse of what you will be doing throughout the semester you will intern. For my program you have to complete 120 hours under a supervised librarian or archivist.
The fun part of the internship choosing what you want to do. For instance, I’m bilingual and speak both English and Spanish fluently. That being said for my internship I’m looking to focus on working with the Hispanic population, and helping them with ESL information, book suggestions, etc. I also enjoy working with the Young Adults, so I wouldn’t shy away from working with that group either.It is important to be aware that as an intern you may be asked to get crafty, and come up with interesting programs for your groups. I’m not turning away from the thesis because I think that its difficult, but I personally believe that interning with an institution will allow be to grow professionally, while getting hands on experience. There is nothing better than being able to pick the brain of a seasoned librarian, with years of experience, who is willing to mentor us the new librarian generation.
At the end of our studies, it does come down to what the want! What we are after, are we capable of squeezing in an internship or are we better off researching and creating a mind-blowing thesis!
Either way you are a winner, why because you will be growing and you will be exploring different routes, and ideas, and that is what make library students awesome librarians.