Final Thoughts on my MLIS Journey

Like many previous bloggers, my time has come to say farewell to Hack Library School and reflect on the last three years. I graduate on June 4 and will be spending the month of May finalizing my Capstone project and presentation. My goal for joining HLS was to get out of my comfort zone and force myself to write a non-school related piece every month. I wanted to improve my writing skills and contribute to this community in a meaningful way and help other students too.

It is wild to think that around this time three years ago (May 2019) I sent in my application before the final deadline to the University of Washington’s Information School on a whim and hoped for the best. UW was the only school I applied to, and the online program was the only option that would work for me because it would allow me to keep working full-time. I am an “older” student who is around mid-career with a mortgage and a family. Quitting my job or moving to another part of the country was not an option. But I was not happy in my current career trajectory as an Executive Assistant at Microsoft. A role I have had in one form or another since my mid-20s and one that has never felt right and often left me feeling depleted, taken advantage of, and deeply unhappy. My friends in an adult book club at the Seattle Public Library inspired me to take a chance and pursue my passion for books, information, and wanting to become a real librarian! I’m so glad I did.

Looking back to 2019, I was so naïve. Like Sarah posted in 2021 in her farewell note, I was also winging it when I started my MLIS. I had no real idea what I signed up for and what library school was all about. I figured I would get through the program, quit my corporate job and work as a public librarian without any real librarianship experience! I am laughing out loud at this now as I’m sure many of you are as well. It is not impossible to become a public librarian without ever having worked in a library before, but I now know that probably is not going to be the best path for me. In fact, library school showed me how I can use my previous work experience combined with my passion for organizing information in a role that will likely take me down the path of data, taxonomy, ontologies, or even corporate/special librarianship. These are subjects I loved in school and thrived in. I’ve already applied for a few positions in these areas with absolutely no idea how my application will stack up to the dozens, and in a few cases hundreds, of other applicants. At this point, I’ll be shocked if I get an interview but applying for these roles has been deeply satisfying because I know I can do these jobs. I worked hard for three years to get to this point and if given the chance I will work even harder to prove myself in a new career. I’m resisting the urge right now to doubt myself and feel like an imposter. Another skill I learned in grad school: tamping down my negative inner voice and letting imposter syndrome run rampant.

I am so very grateful to have been a part of my MLIS program. Thank you to my amazing professors and instructors for making me laugh, teaching me things I never knew I needed to know, building my confidence, and showing me all the ways I can use a MLIS degree. Thank you to my incredible classmates and all the partners I have had for many different group projects (I got SO lucky!). I’m so grateful to know you all and to have learned so much from you. We did it! And of course, thank you to my family and friends for supporting me while going to grad school during a pandemic and giving me a reality check when I needed one. There have been so many late nights, some tears, and many times I wanted to quit everything. I could not have done it without my personal cheerleaders.

Finally, thank you HLS for the opportunity to contribute to this blog and learn from so many amazing writers. It has given me a chance to express my thoughts and improve my writing skills. I appreciate the opportunity to contribute over the last year, but I am also ready to close the door on another aspect of library school and say goodbye to late night Sunday writing!

2 replies

  1. I am so happy for you and congrats on your new MLIS. Washington is a great School. I too was in your situation many years ago when I decided to become a librarian. It is a second career for me, and I have not been disappointed. Sometimes, the getting hired part can become tedious, but you’ll get there!. I am in medical librarianship, and it is the area I had always wanted to practice in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your inspiration!
    I am in my first semester of my MLIS degree, and I laughed when you said you were happy to say goodbye to Sunday night writing!

    Liked by 1 person

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