A week in the life

There have been several posts over the years about typical library school student schedules, but there hasn’t been one in a while, so I figured it’s time for a new one. Plus, I think my schedule this year has interesting variety now that I have both a part-time job and an internship, so I thought it warranted posting.

Monday

7:30 AM: I wake up early because I was gone all weekend at a conference so I feel behind on my homework. I spend most of extra time unpacking and organizing my papers for the day instead of doing real work.

10:00 AM: Because I missed a session of my Thai class to attend the conference, I now have to make it back up. Another of my classmates apparently missed class too, so we have our makeup session together.

11:00 AM: My actual Thai class happens. We spend most of the class discussing what’s going to be on the test the next day—as it turns out, it’s going to be on things I didn’t study, so I’m going to have to shift around my evening homework plans.

12:00 PM: Lunch time. I try to bring my lunch with me when I’m on campus all day (which you’ll soon see is most days), and usually I succeed.

12:30 PM: I arrive at the Southeast Asia part of the library where I’m interning this semester. They have me doing all sorts of things depending on what they need help with that week, so the first thing I do is check in with my boss about what I did the previous week and what needs to be done now. What needs to be done now is process some DVDs, so I get to work making sure they all play and recording catalog information. Two of them are touted as Indonesian tourist videos but are actually music videos with the video portion being scenic shots of Indonesian cities. I scratch my head for a while trying to figure out subject headings.

2:00 PM: I go up to the next floor to start my shift at the reference desk. After the initially hectic start to the semester, working at the reference desk hasn’t been so bad, but for some reason this afternoon is really busy. I end up returning my first ever voicemail.

5:00 PM: My shift ends and I make my way back to my apartment to do some chores and make dinner. I eventually circle back around to doing homework because I have a paper due Tuesday and it’s not done.

Tuesday

8:00 AM: I adjust my wake up time forward a little bit because I stayed up too late working on my paper. I eat breakfast, read a short story in Indonesian, and study for my Thai test that’s happening today.

11:00 AM: Thai class. Or, today, Thai test. It’s harder than I thought it would be, which is disconcerting. I decide I need to work on my grammar.

11:30 AM: I leave Thai class early (ขอบคุณค่ะอาจารย์!) and head to my museums studies class, which is about how museums incorporate technology. Today we’re discussing two different case studies at the National Museum of the American Indian and Cooper Hewitt. I get a little animated for possibly the first time, since I’ve been feeling a little out of my element in museums studies generally.

1:00 PM: Lunch.

1:30 PM: I head back to the Southeast Asia library to finish up the DVDs. The highlight of today is another music video collection, this time including songs in both Indonesian and Chinese about a mosque in Indonesia with Chinese architecture.

4:00 PM: I have a slight break in my day, during which I respond to emails and try to get some homework done. Usually I only manage to study a little Thai and do any Thai homework that may have been assigned earlier in the day.

5:30 PM: What I refer to as “Introduction to Libraries” starts. This class, despite my initial reservations, has actually been really interesting. The professor fosters a lot of discussion and lets the discussion flow where it may, so it’s been a useful place to ask questions like, “What are professional memberships for?”

8:30 PM: Class ends. I always have grand plans for accomplishing something after class, but I’m always a little too wound up and overtired, so I never end up getting anything else done.

Wednesday

8:00 AM: A later wake up again because I feel like I’m still behind on my sleep.

10:00 AM: I do a short stint at the reference desk that I picked up so that I could get a few extra hours after missing work last week for the conference last week. Being the morning, it’s super quiet and it’s nice to be out of the house.

11:00 AM: Thai class. Fueled with my newfound desire to get better at grammar, I ask a lot of questions about grammar that are potentially not very productive.

12:00 PM: I go to the first official QuasiCon (excuse the outdated website) meeting of the year. QuasiCon is a student conference held every year at the University of Michigan, organized by students in the library program (and beyond!). We get to work brainstorming a theme and making a rough timeline for the rest of the semester, particularly how we’re going to handle the call for submissions.

2:00 PM: I do my second reference shift of the day. It’s busier than in the morning, but thankfully not as crazy as on Monday.

5:00 PM: I go home not as tired as I have been, which leaves me time to make myself a reasonable dinner of dumplings, make a new batch of Thai flashcards, and get some reading done.

Thursday

7:30 AM: I finally wake up early and have time to catch up on some emails and miscellaneous work around my room.

10:00 AM: I go to office hours for my digital preservation class because I missed it last week for the conference. I have to wait in line for a while, so I get another Indonesian short story and my Thai flashcards for the day out of the way.

10:30 AM: I have another early Thai class so that I can get to my museums studies class on time. We have our midterm next week, so we spend the day reviewing for it. I decide that I should be focusing on vocabulary and not grammar.

11:30 AM: In the museums studies class the discussion is more theoretical than during Tuesday’s session, so I am nowhere near as animated. I start worrying about my first paper for this class, which is due at the beginning of November. I want to do something about Indonesia and institutional memory, but I haven’t quite figured out a focus yet.

1:00 PM: I head straight to digital preservation. Since I missed last week, I have some catching up to do, but overall class goes well. I also eat my lunch here, since I have no break for lunch.

4:00 PM: I have another little built-in break during which I go through more emails and regroup mentally after more than five hours of classes.

5:00 PM: I start my one evening shift at the reference desk. Activity usually tapers off as the night goes on and today is no different. This means that I can spend half an hour focusing on helping a single patron, which I actually really enjoy. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something instead of bouncing from person to person.

8:00 PM: I finally head back to my apartment. As with Tuesdays, I’m too tired to get much of anything done so, again, I head off to bed.

Friday

8:00 AM: I let myself sleep in again, but then I do get up to try to get some work done. I have no classes or scheduled work hours on Fridays, which means that they’re my catch-all day for meetings and homework that I haven’t gotten done.

12:00 PM: I go to the Center for Southeast Asian Studies’ lecture for the month (actually there’s a couple this month). It’s about Indonesia, so a lot of people I haven’t seen in a while are there as well and we get a chance to catch up.

1:30 PM: I return home for the day and really get started on my work. I tend to do most of my reading for classes over the weekend because (as you can see) my schedule during the week is pretty full. And there’s always more reading to be done!


Please let me know if you have questions about what a typical week is like for me! To read more posts like this, go here.


Zoë McLaughlin is a Master’s student at the University of Michigan’s School of Information. Find her on Twitter, LinkedIn, or at her personal blog.

Featured image by Death to Stock.

1 reply

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