Dear readers, when you may be reading this, I am currently two weeks away from graduating from my Master of Library and Information Science graduate program at San Jose State University. After writing my last article, I completed my culminating project and, later, the final tasks I needed to complete ahead of graduation this month; which, admittedly, has been bittersweet. As our current global pandemic continues, my university is holding most of their graduation activities and ceremonies online to alleviate the number of students and guests traveling to campus. So, I currently will be celebrating graduation virtually and, according to my university’s administration, will be invited back to participate in future graduation ceremonies and activities if I would like to celebrate this milestone in person when it is deemed safe to do so. In turn, my graduation from graduate school definitely looks a lot different from what I envisioned it would be when I first began my graduate program in the spring of 2019; but is still something I am wholeheartedly embracing nonetheless because graduating virtually does not diminish the fact that I am still graduating from my program on time and with honors.
The last two years have been incredibly difficult, I will not lie; and this past year was especially difficult on its own, naturally. Attending graduate school full-time, even during accelerated summer sessions, have certainly been learning experiences in and of themselves as not only was I cultivating and honing new and existing skills in my classes, but I was also determining what I wanted out of my post-graduation career. As someone who began their MLIS program without any previous library experience, which I discussed in my first post for Hack Library School in April 2019, I not only approached my graduate program from the perspective of trying to find my niche within the field and cultivate and hone employable skills like my peers, but I also approached it from the perspective of trying to determine what I found fulfilling within and outside the field and what I did not. I discussed this briefly more recently in my article from March of this year when I emphasized the importance of affording yourself the opportunity to learn what drives you professionally and what fulfills you while in graduate school so you can get the most out of your career; especially when you are investing so much time, effort, and money into your degree.
Thus, in my search for post-graduation work, I have expanded my search to non-LIS fields as I have quickly learned in my search what I am willing to be flexible on and what I am not. As I mentioned back in my article from February, many potential employers still are slow to hire amidst the hiring freezes implemented last year and carried into this year. So, it has definitely been important for me to take stock of who is hiring and what exactly they are expecting of applicants and, later, employees as it has made it easier to determine which openings are worth applying for and which ones, quite frankly, may be a better fit for someone else. Even though existing job and internship opportunities may be limited right now, I have learned that it is important for you to not overextend yourself while you are applying to be considered for professional opportunities as it can limit your ability to put forth your best effort in your application materials. So, it is important for you to realistically consider which opportunities best fit you and you can make the best argument for in your application materials to prevent yourself from spending time applying for opportunities just to apply to them.
Additionally, as I prepare for my graduation festivities at the end of this month as well as my second not-for-credit remote internship with the Law Library of Congress starting shortly before, I am also making sure to take time to appreciate my current break between my finishing my culminating project and my first not-for-credit remote internship with the Law Library of Congress and my upcoming events as it is essential for you to take time for yourself, which I have emphasized in much of my writing to this point. I honestly did not realize until I completed my culminating project and internship just how burnt out I had become from everything. So, I have taken the time lately to check in more with myself, reassess current and set new boundaries, and determine how I can find a better balance between my personal and professional responsibilities to decrease the likelihood of burnout in the future; which I have received some input on from peers via #librarytwitter and LIS-related Facebook groups. It has taken a lot of preparation to get to this point, as I have discussed throughout my tenure at Hack Library School; but I know my education will not end with graduation as I feel there is still much to learn and grow from. In turn, I am excited to see what the future holds as I figure out my next steps in my career.