Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students


I’m Amy, a first semester student at Simmons School of Library and Information Science. I live in Somerville and work full time at a law firm, in addition to attending evening classes. In the past year and a half, my life has changed in many ways. It began last winter, when I very hastily applied to Simmons School of Library and Information Science. This is not to say that my decision was hasty, only that the process went very quickly. I had been sitting on the decision for a long time, and realized in the middle of January that if I applied by February 1, I would qualify for a scholarship. I had told people all along that I was thinking about it, but honestly, I wasn’t. I was enjoying my life as a non-student and didn’t feel any rush; however I also realized that if I didn’t make up my mind, another year could slip away. I knew that my deposit wouldn’t be due until May, and there was no harm in applying while I thought a little longer. I also had a steady job and a manager who I knew would support my decision to be a part-time student. Getting my ducks in a row in two weeks was a challenging process, and I remain so appreciative of my former professor and supervisors for writing my recommendations in record time. Simmons was the only school I applied to and I knew that it was the right fit.

By March, I knew that I had been accepted, and when my partial scholarship came in, I made my decision. I hadn’t let myself feel excited until I knew that it was financially possible, and that feeling of joy was unexpected. Now I can’t believe I ever doubted myself – but I also know that this year away from school has helped me grow in countless ways.

My intention for this blog is to hopefully keep family and friends involved in my life as I begin these next two years as a full-time employee and part-time student. I also hope that other post-grads who are contemplating a MLIS degree will find my writing helpful and informative. I’ll start by writing about one of the first steps of becoming a Simmons student…

Technology Orientation Requirement (TOR)

Before or during their first semester, Simmons SLIS students must complete a pass/fail course called LIS-400, the Technology Orientation Requirement (abbreviated as the TOR). The TOR consists of activities and quizzes that are designed to familiarize us with the technology we’ll be using at Simmons, primarily the Moodle – basically a homepage for our classes – and the library’s catalog. There are TOR companion pages that we study in order to complete the activities, and I thought that they were very well put-together.


One of the TOR Companion pages

One of our assignments was to post and respond in the forum section of our TOR. We were asked to introduce ourselves and then respond to others’ introductions. I wrote:

Hello! My name is Amy, and I am looking forward to starting my master’s degree after a year away from school. I graduated from Saint Michael’s College in 2010 and moved to Boston last summer, where I now work at a law firm. I plan to work through school and attend classes at night – anyone else in this boat?
I live in Somerville and in my free time, I like crafting, doing small projects around my house, and rock climbing. My current projects include: brewing kombucha, sewing a quilt, and developing my 3-D printing experience.

Many people said that they were also working full or part-time while going to school, which was a great relief. I haven’t worried so much about making this work, but I have gotten surprised responses when I tell people that I’m not quitting my job, and those responses have made me a little stressed. I also got a lot of feedback on the rock-climbing part of my post, and in the comments we chatted about a rock-climbing librarians club. I imagine it would look like this:



Another assignment that I really enjoyed was creating a Wiki-style page on a topic of our choice. I wanted to choose a topic that wouldn’t already have its own Wikipedia page, so I wrote about a vintage red suitcase that I refurbished a few months ago. Our pages had to include things like bold text, multiple links, headings, photos, and a link to a .pdf. Here are a few snippets of my page, which hopefully also provide insight into my home-life:


The most challenging TOR assignment was to create a web-page that we had to code in HTML. It had the same requirements as the Wiki page but was a little more complicated. I know that this is really simple stuff but I had never done anything like it. Completing the project on my own, using just the TOR Companion pages, made me feel very confident and accomplished. Simmons SLIS did a great job of providing us with the information we needed, and then letting us figure it out through trial and error. This is my preferred learning style, but they also run workshops and have e-mail contacts if you need more assistance. This part of the HTML page I built:


The deadline to complete the TOR is October 19, so you have plenty of time to complete the course. Since I’m not sure what my work/school balance will be like, I wanted to complete everything before the semester began (and I was very excited).

So far I have been really impressed with the internal/course pages of the SLIS program – they are significantly more user-friendly than the system at my undergrad program. I guess this is the benefit of a program designed by librarians!

Check out Amy’s original post on