So long, farewell (for now)

Believe it or not, it’s time for my farewell post! While this isn’t the last you’ll hear from me on the blog (updated UMD Hack Your Program post, anyone? 👀 ), this is going to be the post where I wrap up my time with Hack Library School and reflect. I still remember walking to class with a friend in the fall of 2019 and figuring out that we had both applied to be HLS writers (Hi, Sarah!), and the days between then and now have flown by. So, while I learned so much over the course of my two years in library school about the industry, the biggest thing I learned is to expect the unexpected. 

When I first started my MLIS program, I was interested in archives and the performing arts or working as a performing arts subject librarian in an academic library. I took an archives course early on and learned that it wasn’t for me, and my interests drifted away from the performing arts and towards information literacy as I took more and more classes and gained experience teaching in a library setting. I thought I would end up doing an internship or field study to capstone my degree, and ended up doing a thesis instead. Originally, I wanted to get a job at an academic institution after graduation, one where I could eventually work towards a Ph.D., and here I am two years later preparing to start my Ph.D. in the fall. And, of course, the curveball none of us could really expect, I started my degree in person and I will be finishing it online.

All this to say, to both current and future HLS readers, while hopefully a global pandemic will not be a common hurdle in the future, I do want to express how your plans can change as you learn and grow within the profession, and it is completely okay to end up in a different place when graduation rolls around, despite where you expected to be when you started your program. 

I was also curious to hear what some of my classmates had to say about library school and any advice they would give to someone just starting out, so I decided to ask some of them. Here is some advice coming from folks still in their first year of their MLIS, some halfway through, and some graduating in May:

  • “Don’t pigeonhole yourself into a specific area of the field. Take time to explore what all of the options within the field look like. Go with the flow.”
  • “Talk to as many professionals as you can. I learned the most about what I want to do by talking to the people who actually do those jobs.”
  • “Get involved and talk to people. Grad school is about making connections with people and people, especially your professors and other mentors, want to help you and want you to succeed.”

Well, that’s all folks! Take care of yourselves and each other. If you want to find me in the future, come say hi on Twitter @JaneBehre!

Jane Behre is a second-year MLIS student at the University of Maryland. At UMD, she is the coordinator for the First Year Book Program and a Research & Teaching Fellow. Her academic and professional interests include information literacy instruction and health literacy. She will be continuing on to pursue her Ph.D. at the University of Maryland.

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

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