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

Isabelle Raposo

I studied English and Classics at Wellesley College, just outside Boston, and moved into the city to attend Simmons SLIS in 2019. I came to the program with some library and museum experience, as well as an interest in the role of technology in the field. I’ve taken courses on a wide variety of topics, from User Instruction (LIS 408) to Data Interoperability (LIS 487). Getting to know other students at Simmons has been a great experience, and I’ve learned so much from my SLIS classmates as well as my professors. It’s always interesting to hear my peers’ perspectives on material we’re covering in class, since everyone comes to the classroom from different professional backgrounds. I’m excited to be sharing my last semester at SLIS on Student Snippets.



Entries by Isabelle Raposo

  • Closing Remarks

    My snippets posts the past few weeks have been in list format, and here’s one more: five highlights from the program. User Instruction (LIS 408), Data Interoperability (LIS 487), Information Sources and Services (LIS 407), and Database Management (LIS 458) were my favorite classes, with fantastic instructors and challenging assignments. These courses changed my perspective on the world and on what I could accomplish.  My professors at SLIS have been knowledgeable, kind, fair, and engaging instructors. They encouraged me and helped me get on track when I struggled with difficult material. They gave me comments on my work that helped me improve. Reaching out for advice and information from Simmons alums and current students when I was job searching this year was both interesting and fun. The people I reached out to were ridiculously generous with their time, their networks, and their expertise. From dissecting a computer and writing simple one-line programs in Technology for Information Professionals (LIS 488) to writing sophisticated Python programs that performed multiple tasks in Data Interoperability with Professor Catherine Dumas,…

  • Advice for group work at Simmons SLIS

    Group projects have been one of the defining features of my time at Simmons SLIS. In the past four semesters I’ve come up with some best practices that I try to follow (often based on mistakes I’ve made while working on teams!).  Get everyone’s phone number ASAP even if it seems invasive when you first meet, even if you’ll be communicating primarily by email. Having a backup method of communication is crucial. Collaboratively set an agenda for meetings when you schedule them and review it when you start. Book a study room if you’re meeting in person, or set up zoom ahead of time if you’re online. Make sure everyone knows where you’re meeting. Start meetings with informal conversation. Don’t wait more than five minutes after the start time to start taking care of business, even if everyone hasn’t arrived yet. Be aware of your own habits in meetings and how you respond to different group dynamics. Assume the best if things aren’t going smoothly. Nobody wants to let down the group and disappear. In…

  • Typical Week in the Life of a SLIS Student

    There are only five weeks to go until the end of the semester, and at this point I feel like I can present a pretty accurate view of my typical week! There are two basic genres of LIS program schedule blog posts: working full time while in school and working part time. This is the former.  For the sake of simplicity, I’ve left my work every weekday from 8:30-5:30 off this schedule (see Tuesday for the exception to this). Typically, I take a full hour for lunch three out of five days a week and a shorter break the other two days.  I’ve also left out most errands, cleaning, and my social life, but I usually have way more time than you would think to spend quality time with other people (safely). My social network in Boston includes a lot of people I’ve met through Simmons. I also get enough sleep! Monday:  5:30-6:00: Go for a short walk. 6:00-7:00: Standing meeting with my group project team for Systems Analysis and Design. 7:00-7:30: Homework. 7:30: Dinner…

  • Planning and Researching for IPI

    This weekend, I walked to Brookline to run errands and lingered in Brookline Village, which is one of my favorite neighborhoods and pretty near Simmons. The old buildings (especially the Bank of America at Coolidge Corner) and bustling streets are really nice to explore, even these days. It’s also the only place I can find quarters to do laundry! April has been extremely busy so far, since my research partner and I are conducting a lot of focus groups. Over these four hour-long interviews, we’re planning to build a comprehensive understanding of student and staff experience in the Inter-Professional Informationist post-masters certificate program at SLIS. This pilot program is for librarians who either currently hold or want to take on inter-professional informationist roles, as librarians who embed with biomedical research or clinical teams.  Planning and carrying out this research has been really rewarding and challenging so far. Working with my amazing research partner has also been a highlight of the process, and I’m so glad not to be doing this project alone! As I’ve mentioned…

  • Check out a librarian’s blog

    In the course of my research for a class presentation, I came across a librarian’s blog that I wanted to share. The author of this blog is Sally Gore, the Manager of Research & Scholarly Communication Services at the Lamar Soutter Library, UMass Medical School. This is a great example of a librarian blog, a genre of internet content that has decreased in volume as conversations have moved to Twitter and other social media sites. Nevertheless, many bloggers are still posting and many inactive blogs are still up. I would recommend looking at librarian blogs for information about what working in the library field is like, even though a lot of what you’ll find is from the mid-2010s heyday of the blogging world. Sally’s blog was interesting because of its relevance to my research project for LIS 621 (Conducting Research), but the posts about books Sally had read also caught my eye. I added a lot of them to my reading list, including Data Feminism, Meeting Design, and Prairie Fires. The list of books I…

  • Daylight savings

    The best part of the second half of March is the sun going down so much later. I don’t understand why we still have non-daylight time during the winter, but the spring forward period is always fun. In the past couple of weeks, it’s meant that I can get some sunlight by going for a walk after work and before starting my homework on weekdays (not to say that I do homework every day).. The only exception is Tuesday, when I close out of a virtual coffee break at work and immediately log into zoom for class.  During spring break, I tried to get ahead on work for my asynchronous class, Principles of Management (LIS 404), so I can pace myself a little more in the next few weeks. My professor included a Game of Thrones-themed exercise about hiring and staffing, which was entertaining even though I only know enough about Game of Thrones to recognize some of the names!  I’ve also been working on my literature review for LIS 621 (Conducting Research). Luckily, our…

  • Spring Break and Myers-Briggs

    The last week before spring break definitely made me ready for spring break! I had extensive assignments for all my classes and barely finished them on time after an unexpectedly chaotic weekend. I also realized mid-week that I forgot to watch the lecture videos for both of my asynchronous classes! I can catch up on them, though, and spring break does give me a little room for error.  My management class assignment this week was to post about the personality traits, cultural backgrounds, and life experiences that we bring to the workplace. It was fascinating to read everyone’s responses, especially since everyone wrote long and detailed forum posts.  We all took a Myers-Briggs type test to get our four-letter personality code and discussed the results in our posts. Although I have reservations about how meaningful the Myers-Briggs typing system is, people shared great insights about their personalities, using the test as a jumping-off point.  A solid chunk of the class got INFJ when they took the test, a type that often gets nicknamed “The Advocate.”…

  • Researching and Writing

    The first week of March was intense! I had expected to feel overwhelmed when I started my new job, but I had forgotten how draining the first week of anything new can be. I also had some extra meetings for school in the evenings on top of my recurring team meeting and class, so I felt pretty pressed for time. In the midst of it all, I did make some delicious noodle soup and catch up with my roommate, who had been away for a couple of weeks. There were a couple of warmer days and I thought spring might be coming, but it turns out I was wrong and the cold weather was back in force. My new job is with a research organization that doesn’t have a lot of people from LIS backgrounds (none that I’ve met yet, anyway). As a result, I ended up explaining my degree to a lot of people. I think I gave a slightly different explanation to each person who asked, but each one was completely accurate. Now…

  • Walking around the Fens

    I can’t believe I just finished the fourth week of the semester! I got a lot done this week and tried to front-load some assignments in advance of my job starting soon. I also ran errands to Fenway and Brookline, since when I’m working I won’t be able to go to stores in the middle of the day. Walking around the Fenway area was fun and stimulating but also a little sad. I miss being on campus! I returned a book I’d had for over a year (for pandemic reasons) to the library drop box in the Palace Road building where I used to go to classes. It was nice to have a reason to visit campus and peek at the construction happening in the quad. The area around Simmons is really lovely, and these days I gravitate towards it for reasons other than the big box stores across the Fenway from campus. I used to go to a coffee shop called Neighborhoods, which changed hands and turned into Phinista, a really cool Vietnamese cafe, this…

  • Week 3

    Week 3 of the spring semester went by really fast! I’m reading a book called Off the Clock by Laura Vanderkam, about how we perceive time. Apparently units of time that are similar to one another seem shorter in retrospect than times when exciting or new things happen. I guess it makes sense that the third week of the semester would seem shorter since it was similar to the second week!  My team for Systems Analysis (LIS 621) met on Monday night and set that as our regular meeting time since we have collaborative work due every week. This week, we developed interview questions and then role-played with them as if two of us were the Simmons registrar and the rest were systems analysts figuring out requirements for a new registration system. I volunteered to play one of the registrar roles, since I enjoy making things up and acting. It was fun to improvise answers to the questions and try to keep a straight face. We recorded the conversation and posted it to our class slack channel. …

  • Full Time Work Full Time Student

    Last week was memorable because I got offered a job that I’m really excited about! I’ll be starting work in a couple of weeks, so I predict I’ll be extremely busy until I graduate. After spending most of the past year feeling like I had too much time and not enough to do, it will be a big change but definitely a welcome one. I know that many people work full time while enrolled at Simmons SLIS, so while it won’t be easy, I know it’s doable.  Wednesday is the official start of my academic week, as well as the day when I typically have no events scheduled. After completing the work for last week, I had a sense of how long the repeating assignments for each course should take, and how they relate to each other. For instance, I knew that I should watch the lecture videos for my Systems Analysis (LIS 486) class before doing the readings or the other assignments. Lecture videos and text lessons that I can read through always help…

  • Snowy First Week of Classes

    I kicked off my final semester at Simmons by joining a doctoral-level course, Conducting Research (LIS 621), a few days before classes started. I became interested in biomedical research data management and medical librarianship this fall, and my research project for this course will allow me to explore that area of the library field. I’ll also learn the foundations of how to conduct social science studies! The first meeting of LIS 621 on Tuesday was really exciting, especially after six weeks without classes. As always, it was fascinating to hear about everyone’s background and reason for taking the course. After some in-depth introductions, including sharing our research interests, we talked about the logistics of the course and then broke into small groups. In the Zoom breakout rooms, we developed definitions of the word “research” that would be helpful in the context of this course.  On Wednesday, as soon as I had syllabi for all my courses, I put all the assignments for the semester into my calendar. I’m taking three courses (or nine credits, which…

  • Creating a Character Database

    This finals period was challenging but fun, and encapsulated what I’ve enjoyed about my courses at SLIS. I had a lot of latitude in choosing topics for my final projects in each course, but enough structure that I felt challenged by the assignments. For Database Management (LIS 458) with Professor Danielle Pollock, I designed and built a database about the characters in George Eliot’s Middlemarch, my favorite Victorian novel. Developing this database was one of the most intellectually challenging projects I’ve done at SLIS. Professor Pollock set us up to succeed by requiring us to turn in different elements of our database design throughout the semester, so I was able to revise my design and structure based on her feedback. I wanted to capture detailed information about every character in the novel, including clues to their socioeconomic background. Sorting out the technical details of how to display that information pushed me to grapple with the topics we covered during the semester. I ended up scaling back my project as the semester went on. Middlemarch is…