Thankfulness in Troubling Times

I started writing my post for the month of November before I got the HLS schedule and realized that my post would fall on Thanksgiving. So, I decided to set aside my original topic about resource accessibility during COVID-19 (which will come from me in December instead) and share with you some of the things I’m thankful for in my grad school career right now. In these troubling times, we could all use a little more thankfulness.

Smart, Thoughtful Peers

I‘m lucky this semester to have at least one of my friends from my program in every single class that I’m in. While we can’t see each other in the classroom in person, we talk about assignments and share interesting articles with each other. We use FaceTime to practice our stories for our storytelling class and end up catching up and discussing our other course work and our lives and jobs. If an important part of grad school is to build professional relationships and network, I’m glad that I’m still able to establish these connections and have these relationships with my peers; even if it’s not under ideal circumstances.

Understanding Professors

Just like students have had to adapt to COVID-19 and remote learning, so too have professors. I’m thankful that I have professors who understand when Zoom fatigue hits and I need to turn off my camera, or when I need to ask for an extension. Some of my professors have acknowledged that they’ve changed assignments to work better for the circumstances of the semester. When we have synchronous sessions via Zoom, my professors check in and want to know how we’re doing this week. Having professors who genuinely care about your wellbeing beyond class is more important than ever.

A Chance to Consider What the Library Profession Looks Like Now

This semester, I’m enrolled in “Library Programs and Services for Children” and several of our readings this semester have been from the ALA’s Virtual Storytime Services Guide. Thinking about how COVID-19 is affecting library services is important because the way libraries provide services will always be changing over the course of my career. My classmates and I have filmed videos of hello songs and demonstrations of storytelling skills. Whether digital or in person, these are things that I’ll have to do in the future and I’m grateful to have been able to still practice them this semester.

A Strong Support System

I’ve already mentioned my peers, and they’re definitely part of my support system; but it’s also important to have a network outside of school to support you as well. I’ve got a great family, a best friend who I have a virtual movie night with once a week, a thoughtful and supportive boyfriend, roommates who will listen to me when I need to vent, and a large smattering of pen pals across the country. A support system is always important but even more so during COVID-19.

Good Media

Hacker Mary Elizabeth Allen shared her winter break reading list, which included Megan Roenbloom’s Dark Archives, a book about the history of books bound in human skin. Dark Archives is also on my reading list (as soon as it’s my turn on the holds list for it), but Mary’s post got me thinking more about the media I like to consume. When it comes to pleasure reading, I bounce through all sorts of things, like I’m reading George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series right now but am also working through library books including Tom Zoellner’s The National Road; which is a collection of essays about changing American culture through the lens of the author’s road trips across the country. I’ve watched both Avatar the Last Airbender (Check out this HLS post about Avatar and disinformation) and The Legend of Korra and am doing some rewatching of Gilmore Girls. Having good media to read, watch, and engage with is something I’m thankful for when getting out of the house isn’t feasible. Sure, the media I engage with doesn’t always relate to LIS, but as a children’s literature grad student as well, watching and reading media for children makes me a more well-informed future youth services librarian. Additionally, having things that are completely separate from the academic life is so important.

These are just a few of the things I’m thankful for right now. I’d love to hear what you’re thankful for right now in the comments (library or non-library related)

Macy Davis is a second-year student at Simmons University in the MA in Children’s Literature/MS in Library and Information Sciences dual degree program. She’s currently snuggling with her cat and stressing about end of the semester projects. You can find her on twitter @bookishlybright or through her personal blog.

Photo by fotografierende from Pexels

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