My Professional Goals for 2021

As 2020 finally draws to a close, I find myself just over halfway through my MLIS program. I am projected to graduate in the spring of 2022, which means I have one full year left of making the most of my library school experience. I am proud of what I have accomplished so far. I feel I finally have gotten the hang of my study schedule, learned what sort of self care I need to balance the hard work of getting a graduate degree; and through my coursework, found a niche in the information science world that I feel truly excited and passionate about. It’s as if the dust around me beginning to settle and the path toward my goals is taking shape. 

Which means, I have a lot of work to do. While I feel confident in my academic accomplishments, and am fortunate to have a modest amount of library experience under my belt, there are still many steps I need to take to make my vision into a reality. I want to make sure I take full advantage of my time as a student so that when my turn on the job market comes, I am as prepared as I can possibly be to land my dream job.

So, in interest of this, I thought now would be a good time to set a few professional goals I’d like to accomplish in 2021. By writing these intentions out and sharing them with the world, I hope to find a bit of accountability, and maybe inspire my fellow hackers to join in. 

Attend a conference.

Realistically speaking, I very likely will not be able to physically attend a conference in 2021. But even so, there is a lot of value in the virtual conferences that will likely take place instead, as they did this year. I was able to sit in on a couple of sessions of SAA’s virtual conference this year, which likely would not have happened if I had to travel in order to attend. But every conference I’ve been able to attend so far, physical or virtual, has left me feeling inspired by my fellow professionals, and excited to keep working. I’d also like to challenge myself to speak up more, ask more questions, and try to connect with my colleagues.

Submit to an academic journal.

One aspect of the information science profession I’ve discovered I really love is writing and research. In interest of that, I would like to try to engage in with the rich LIS publishing field that I have been so inspired by thus far. I think my best bet would be starting with my student research journal, but I’m excited to see what other possibilities may arise as well!

Participate in an internship.

This goal may be a bit trickier to secure depending upon how the global landscape of 2021 shapes up. While virtual internships will likely be an option for me to pursue, I would also love to engage in physical archives work. However, even if this isn’t an option in 2021, I can still challenge myself to find ways to learn archives practices outside of traditional spaces.

While 2020 has certainly taught me that we cannot plan for everything, it still can be helpful to pin down a few concrete goals to help guide our professional journeys, and help us make the most of our time. What goals do you have for 2021? How are you keeping yourself accountable?

Mary Elizabeth Allen is an MLIS student at San Jose State University. She holds a B.A. in Literature with an emphasis in Fiction Writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her professional interests include: archives studies, the intersections between critical librarianship and social justice, and radical feminist scholarship.

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

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