Behind the Highlight Reel

One of my last tasks in my library school career is my choice of end of program assessment, an online portfolio. As I roll the credits on my time in library school, I wanted to take a moment to talk about “the hard stuff.” My portfolio is essentially a highlight reel of my accomplishments in school and at my work in a library job. I’m proud of my work and I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to share what I have accomplished. Yet as I wrapped up this project, I thought about how there isn’t exactly a platform to acknowledge the less glamorous parts of this library school process.


You forget to register for your last class.

You do all the work for the group project but have to share the credit.

Your regular life gets put on the backburner in favor of work and school.

You decide the internet has broken your brain and you have forgotten how to write.

You juggle many (too many) responsibilities.

You have health issues that put you behind or make school and work more difficult.

Some of these “sometimes” statements are mine (yes, I really did forget to register for my last class), while many feel quite universal in nature. No matter what your struggles were, are, or will be in library school, they were a part of the process. You don’t arrive at the final product without challenges along the way.

The hard things don’t have to stop you, but they need to be acknowledged. There’s no shame in saying, this situation (or any responsibility you have going on in your life) is difficult. This work can be difficult and uncomfortable: it’s important to acknowledge that, sit with it, and then press ahead.

There will be opportunities to which you’ll have to say no. There will be opportunities to which you say yes and YOU WISH you had said no. You can’t do it all: all the plates can’t stay spinning. Honor those challenges and celebrate getting through them. Remember that a highlight reel is real, but that it doesn’t tell the whole story.

The support I have received throughout my library school career has been tremendous. From my advisor and the rest of the faculty at my program, to my family and close friends, to my work mentors who put me in the right places at the right times, I have been incredibly supported. I’m also thankful for my time writing and posting here at Hack Library School, as it helped me process this interesting journey in the middle of it. Here’s to life after library school!

Sarah Davis is a Bilingual (English/Spanish) Youth Librarian at a public library in Oklahoma and an MLIS student at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, graduating May 2019.

Categories: reflections

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