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

Sarah Callanan

Sarah Callanan

My name is Sarah Callanan and I recently moved to Massachusetts from
Raleigh, North Carolina. I graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a BA in
Communication Studies with a minor in English. I have previously lived in
Colorado and Michigan, so snow is not as much of a foreign concept to me as one might think. I started my MLIS degree in January 2018, and am pursuing the Archives Management concentration. My love of research, reading, and the fact that my living area was slowly but surely becoming a library is what prompted me to start my journey to getting this degree. I’m really enjoying getting to know the Boston area and all it has to offer. I’m so
excited to be at Simmons and to be on this ride with all of you.



Entries by Sarah Callanan

  • Project Time!

    Can you believe that we are six weeks in to the semester?  Six weeks!  We’re almost halfway done with the Fall 2020 semester everyone!   As promised, this post is going to be all about the semester-long project in LIS 454: Digital Information Services and Providers.  Our big project is an Electronic Resources in Libraries Case Study Project, where we split up in to teams to do a thorough investigation of an academic library’s electronic resources offerings and management.  We interview the library’s electronic resources librarian and learn more about the workflow, operation specifics and skills needed for managing electronic resources, and learn more about the library itself.  We will ultimately write a case study report based on the interview and investigate how the electronic resources are described and introduced on the website, how everything is connected and covered in research guides and tutorials online, and what library services are provided and offered.   This project really reminds me of LIS 453: Collection Development and Management, except for this project we are solely focusing on electronic resources and the role of the electronic…

  • First Weeks

    The fall semester is starting to ramp up everyone!  We’ve only had three class sessions of LIS 454: Digital Information Services and Providers so far but I feel like I’ve learned so much!  We’ve been building on topics that we learned about in LIS 407: Information Sources and Services such as Boolean logic and nesting as well as learning new topics such as database structure and search techniques for specific databases.  We’ve started working with ProQuest databases, ProQuest Dialog, and Factiva so far.  I’m learning more about the particulars of how to search, and why it is best to search that way.  I really enjoy searching so this class is definitely my cup of tea!   Now that we’ve had a few class sessions, I can tell you that LIS 454 is very different than other classes that I’ve taken at SLIS before.  Then again, I suppose that most classes students are taking this semester (as well as in Spring 2020 and Summer 2020) have been a bit different because of the pandemic.  As I mentioned in some of my earlier posts, this was…

  • New Semester, New Class

    Summer break is over, and the Fall 2020 semester has officially started!  I didn’t do too much during the break—the pandemic sort of limits your summer break activities.  I did a lot of baking, and I saw my sister for the first time since the pandemic started!  We had a socially distanced picnic.  I really enjoyed the time off from school, but I’m happy to be back in the saddle again!   As I mentioned in my last post, I am taking LIS 454: Digital Information Services and Providers this semester, and we had our first class session this week!   This is an exciting new experience for me as the class is being taught live over Zoom, and I’ve never taken a class taught in this particular format.  I’ve said in several of my past blog posts that I’ve wanted to take an in-person class for a while, and this class was originally scheduled to be in-person in Boston—it was just adapted to an online synchronous live format because of COVID-19.  While I have had a few live sessions in some of my…

  • Eight Classes Down, Four to Go!

    We are done with the summer term everyone!  I finished LIS 475 right at the beginning of August, so I’ve had a little bit of time without having to worry about schoolwork, and I don’t start my next class until the beginning of September.  Eight classes down, four to go!  I can’t believe that I am two-thirds of the way done with my time at SLIS!  The fall semester is right around the corner, and because SLIS announced that classes are going to be online for the fall because of COVID-19, it opened up so many options in terms of classes.  In “normal times” I have to consider a lot of factors when I register, and it usually results in me taking online classes.  I’ve always wanted to take some of the classes that are only taught on campus but the timing and circumstances haven’t been right. For fall, having everything shift online has opened a lot of doors for me.   I’m currently registered for LIS 454: Digital Information Services and Providers.  I’m really excited…

  • Close to the Finish Line!

    We are getting close to the end of the semester everyone!  We are in Week 7 and the summer term ends in just a few days!  As you can imagine, I am feeling the pressure!  Even though my class is ending in a few days, there is still so much left to do! As I’ve said in previous posts, summer classes are condensed courses—you are learning two weeks of material during a one-week period, so you are taking in a lot of information.  LIS 475: Organizational and Information Ethics has been a very interesting class.  The early weeks were less focused on library and information-related content, and were more focused on introducing us to the concept of what ethics is and ethical frameworks.  We didn’t really start talking about information ethics or anything super-related to libraries until later in the course.  We’ve covered so many topics in this class already, such as Ethical Frameworks, Ethics and Organizational Culture and Management, Ethical Decision Making and Legal Compliance, Information Ethics, Privacy and Access, Digital Equity, Intellectual Freedom,…

  • Virtual Conferences

    In my last post of the spring semester, I mentioned how due to COVID-19 many conferences are now going virtual.  I have never been able to attend an in-person conference before because of my school and work schedule, as well as financial reasons, but virtual conferences are significantly cheaper (or free in some cases!), and you can attend from the comfort of your own home.  I still hope to go to a real-life conference before I graduate (assuming the pandemic and vaccines and everything works out), but for now, I’m taking advantage of virtual opportunities.  The ALA Annual 2020 Conference was initially supposed to be held in Chicago this year; however, it was moved online and transformed into ALA Virtual: Community Through Connection.  It was held from June 24-26 online.  Admittedly, I know it’s not the same experience—I’m sitting in my room, alone, with my laptop and my headphones on instead of being around tons of people after all!  If you compare this to Katie’s experience at ALA Annual last year, and at ALA Midwinter…

  • Adventures in Ethics

    We’ve completed the first week of the of the Summer 2020 term everyone!  As you know, classes at SLIS are online for this term due to the pandemic.  I’m not going to lie; I came very close to forgetting it was the first week of classes last week.   If I hadn’t received an email from my professor announcing it was the first day of class last Monday, I would have completely forgotten.  I’m taking LIS 475: Organizational and Information Ethics this summer, and as is usual for Simmons summer classes, it is only seven weeks long, but is the same amount of work as a normal semester-long course. This means we cover two weeks-worth of material a week.  If you’ve read my past posts about summer classes, you know my feelings about this.  Summer classes have a lot of content in a very short amount of time. I’m not wild about the rushed feeling, but this summer, like last summer, there is no “locked” content, so I can see everything ahead of time.  In summer…

  • Staying Positive

    So we are a few weeks in to the break between the Spring 2020 Semester and the Summer 2020 Semester, and it’s obviously a bit different this time around with COVID-19.  Last year around this time I was on a trip with my family, and this year we’re in the middle of a pandemic and Massachusetts is still under a stay-at-home advisory.  One thing I’ve thought a lot about during the past few weeks is stress caused by the outbreak, and the importance of staying positive.  Here are some of my tips for staying positive and coping with stress during this difficult time: Remember that this is only temporary and you are not alone! Maintain a sense of routine!  As much as I love staying in my pajamas, I have a more positive attitude when I get up, get dressed, and go about my everyday routine.  Take a break from COVID-19 news, media, and other pandemic-related content.  I disabled news notifications on my phone a while ago, and I’ve been trying to limit myself from…

  • Seven Classes Down, Five to Go!

    We are DONE with the Spring 2020 semester everyone!  Seven classes down, five to go!  This summer I’m taking LIS 475: Organizational Ethics.  I was originally going to take a different class, but due to the unpredictability associated to COVID-19, I switched classes.  This class looks very interesting—based on the description, I think it’s going to be more of a theory-based class and we’ll be covering a lot of interesting topics.  However, the class doesn’t start until June 15, so I have a bit of a break before school starts again.  Usually, when the semester is over and we come up on a break, I’m thrilled.  However, this time it is different because there is a pandemic happening. This now means that there is a gaping hole in my everyday routine.  The stay-at-home advisory has been extended until May 18, and my sense of time and structure during the pandemic has pretty much come from two things, school and work, and now one of them is gone until mid-June.  On one hand, it’s nice not…

  • Almost to the Finish Line!

    We are in Week 13 everyone! It’s the second-to-last week of the semester! We’re almost across the finish line! Usually at this point in the semester, I’m working on some sort of big final project to turn in at the end of the class, but oddly, this semester that’s not the case. I suppose you could call the Social Media Assignment my big project, as it was supposed to last until the end of the semester, but I actually met all the requirements for the project itself a while ago. Since my last post, I’ve completed my other two assignments, so all that stands between me and the end of the semester is some forum posts, readings, and lectures. This has been the strangest semester–and I didn’t even have to deal with too much disruption or transition as I was in an online class anyways. Even though the pandemic has been going on, and we’ve been surrounded by change, chaos, and uncertainty, LIS 453: Collection Development and Management has been one of my favorite classes…

  • Uncertain Times

    It’s now April and things are still….not great.  When I wrote my last post in mid-March, while many people were working from home, I was still going in to work.  However, by the end of that week, I was working from home, and since that post, all non-essential businesses have closed their physical spaces until May 4.   Simmons had made the decision to transition to online learning when I wrote my last post, and that has been going on since March 23.  That decision didn’t actually affect me too much as I was already in an online class.  New changes are happening every day and I’ve basically not left my home since my last day “at work.” COVID-19 has really thrown this semester, and future planning, for a bit of a loop.  I’m taking LIS 453: Collection Development this semester, and as I mentioned, it was already an online class, so I didn’t really have too much of a transition, but the virus has definitely messed with my sense of structure, time management, and overall…

  • The World Has Changed

    I’m writing this blog post on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 (Happy St. Patrick’s Day!) and the world has certainly changed since my last post.  Things could completely change between me writing this and this getting posted–who knows?!  COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic, and it is still going strong.   Schools have closed, restaurants and bars have closed to the public and are doing take out and delivery only, and many universities, including Simmons , have transitioned to online learning for the rest of the semester.  Many people are now working remotely, and social distancing is now the new norm.  If you are social distancing, under quarantine, working remotely, transitioning to online classes, or just simply need to take a break and relax for a few minutes, here are some of the things that I’ve been reading and watching lately as an escape.  Some are new favorites, some are old standbys, but they bring a smile to my face, and I hope maybe one of them will help you!  READ: See what’s available in an eBook…

  • Adventures on Twitter

    Every so often at SLIS we have an assignment that I’m ambivalent about, and that has happened this week with LIS 453: Collection Development and Management’s Social Media Assignment.  In all fairness, I knew this assignment was coming before I even signed up for this class, as bloggers who have taken this class have written about it.  This week the Social Media Assignment was introduced–it is an assignment that will last the rest of the semester.  We have to create a Twitter account and use it to tweet about promotional events, publicity materials, collection displays, and other library-related things.  Lots of libraries and librarians use Twitter as well as publishers and other vendors, so this assignment is a great way to learn more about how they handle promotions and publicity.  However, I’ve never been really keen on the idea of having a personal Twitter account.  Professionally I’ve created publicity materials and items for social media accounts, and academically I’ve done a lot of analysis on social media, but I’ve never had my own personal Twitter…

  • Let’s Talk About Books!

    This week I have one of the most fun projects that I’ve had since starting at Simmons!  I get to talk about BOOKS!  I know, I know, this is library school, shouldn’t this be a common thing?  Actually, no, this is not a usual assignment. I don’t think I’ve actually had an assignment where I’ve gotten to wax poetic about books, genres, publishing, or anything of that nature since we talked about readers advisory waaaaayy back in my first semester when I was taking LIS 407: Information Sources and Services. This week is my Genre/Topic project for LIS 453: Collection Development and Management.  For this project, I get to talk about a particular topic or book genre and discuss publishing trends, what’s hot and what’s not, popular books, any books that are going to be released as movies and/or TV shows in my genre, etc. Doesn’t that sound like fun?  I’m excited for this project for a variety of reasons.  First, as I mentioned earlier, I GET TO TALK ABOUT BOOKS!  Like many others who…

  • Reflecting on Collection Development!

    Let’s talk about Collection Development and Management!  Week 3 of the semester just started, and my first big assignment is due in a few days.  As I mentioned in my last post, I don’t have much, if any, practical experience in collection development–my current job as a Reference Assistant in an academic library mainly consists of me doing reference work, as well as some circulation and outreach.   Collection development is new territory for me, and I’ve been learning so much!  However, something that I have noticed is that there are common threads throughout a lot of my classes at SLIS, including this class.  Even though the overall topic may be new, there are elements that I’m building off of from other classes.  For example, in LIS 451: Academic Libraries, and LIS 404: Introduction to Management, we talked about how mission statements and core values informed the library and the overall structure of the organization, and how they relate to academic libraries (LIS 451) and management (LIS 404) in particular.  In this class, LIS 453: Collection…

  • New Year, New Semester

    Happy New Year everyone!  Welcome to 2020 (although it is now halfway through January)!  I had about a month off of work and school and even though it was great to have time off, it’s good to be back in the saddle again.  This week is the first week of the Spring 2020 semester for me here at Simmons, and it is also the first week of the Spring 2020 semester for the students at the university library where I work, so things have been busy for me both at school and at work!  This semester I’m taking LIS 453: Collection Development and Management, although sadly I’m not in the same section as Amie.  I’m very excited for this class and to learn more about how library collections are developed and maintained and get a thorough understanding of the collections process. While a few of my previous classes have briefly touched on some topics relating to this, such as budgeting and weeding, this class is going to be an in-depth look at collection development as…

  • Two Years Down!

    As I mentioned in my last post, I am now officially halfway through my program!  I started at Simmons back in Spring 2018, and I have completed 18 of the 36 credits needed to get my MS in Library and Information Science.  WOO!!!  I’ve learned so much in these past two years, and I’ve grown a lot as a person.   Last December, I did a post of the lessons I learned and my takeaways from the program, and I thought I would expand on that now that I’m halfway done.  I’ve learned so much over the past two years.  I came to Simmons with no library experience whatsoever, and getting this degree has been such an education for me.  My first year I took all the core classes, so that really laid the foundation of learning about search strategies, information organization, technology, and professional standards in the LIS industry; whereas this year I took all electives that helped me explore different areas of LIS, and helped supplement my knowledge.  I’ve learned the importance of having…

  • Almost There!

    It’s the last week of the Fall 2019 semester everyone!  We’ve made it to the end!  Even though these past few weeks have seemed to fly by, I feel oddly relaxed going in to this last week.  It feels very anti-climactic.  I believe it’s because the end of the semester is so close to Thanksgiving–I think last year we had a little bit more time between Thanksgiving and the end of the semester, whereas this year we went right from Thanksgiving break into the final week of class, and then there was a huge snowstorm which gave me an extra day off from work.  Usually I’m really stressed at the end of the semester because there are projects and assignments due, and while I do have a big project due at the end of this week, I think having that small bit of time off really helped me relax and recharge and get ready for the final push.  However this is how I feel right now….talk to me on Sunday when everything is due at…

  • Registration Time!

    Guess what time it is?  Registration! This is Registration Week for SLIS! I have officially registered for the Spring 2020 semester!  Woo!  I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was working on going through the course description list and the two year projected schedule, and I’ve been trying to think about what I want to get out of the rest of my time in my program here at SLIS.  The whole registration process has always been a bit stressful for me for a few reasons: not every class is taught every semester, and then some classes are only taught in specific locations specific semesters or are only online or only in-person, and then adding in the fact that I’m only taking one class at a time it can feel like if I don’t jump on an opportunity to take a class now I will miss my chance.   It was a bit easier when I was taking the core classes (LIS 407, LIS 415, and LIS 488), because those are taught Fall, Spring, and Summer,…

  • Happy (almost) Halloween!

    Happy (almost) Halloween everyone!  You know, I really think time seems to fly by much faster when you are in school.  During the short breaks between classes, time goes so slowly but now it feels like just yesterday we were starting classes, and now it’s almost Halloween.  So we’re starting Week 9 of the Fall 2019 semester this week!  This week we’re focusing on Evaluating Information Services, which is a really important topic, and it’s really interesting too.  I’ve been excited for this week since I saw it on the syllabus–the library I work at did a Library Experience Survey last spring, and hearing about it and the methodology behind it has made me really interested in evaluation.  Every library does evaluation and it’s really been interesting to learn more about this topic, and I think I’m definitely going to add LIS 403: Evaluating Information Services to the list of classes I want to take before I graduate. This class has been really interesting so far!  Some of the other topics we’ve learned about include…

  • Planning for the Future!

    We are now in Week 7 of the Fall 2019 semester!  When I was watching my professor’s introductory lecture for this week and she said we were halfway through the semester I almost couldn’t believe it!  Then, a couple of days ago, the Spring 2020 course schedule dropped.  My goodness this semester is flying by! As the Spring 2020 course schedule just dropped, I’m now intensely studying the course schedule, course descriptions, and trying to figure out what my game plan is for next semester (and beyond).  Registration isn’t until November, so I have some time to think about what I want to take, and to strategically plan.  I mentioned in my last post one of the things I was hoping to get out of my current class (LIS 401: Foundations of Library and Information Science), was to sort of get an overview and introduction of what’s out there in the LIS world and see what I’m interested in before I dedicated individual classes to topics.  This class has been really interesting, and I’ve learned…

  • I’m Back!

    It’s been a little while since my last post!  At the beginning of August (literally less than 12 hours after my summer class ended) I was in the hospital getting major surgery.  Unfortunately, the recovery time for this surgery is rather lengthy, and I’ve been staggering my return dates, but now I’m back in the saddle for school, work, and now blog writing!  Woo-hoo!  Thus far at Simmons I’ve taken all of my core classes (LIS 407: Information Sources and Services, LIS 415: Information Organization, and LIS 488: Technology for Information Professionals), and two of my electives (LIS 451: Academic Libraries and LIS 404: Principles of Management).   I mentioned back in April that I had registered for LIS 421: Social Informatics for the Fall 2019 semester.  Since then, I ended up switching classes to LIS 401: Foundations of Library and Information Science.  This class was recommended to me when I was talking with someone late last year about switching out of archives, and had the two year projected course schedule that SLIS puts out been…

  • Summer is Flying By!

    Things have been crazy!  Summer is just flying by!  There are only seven weeks in my summer class (LIS 404: Principles of Management), and we are in Week 6, and there is so much left to do.  During these last two weeks, we’re learning about Change Management, Grant Writing, Fiscal Responsibility, Budgeting, and Evaluation and Coordination of Library Functions!  So many topics, so little time!  There are still several assignments left to complete, readings to be done, and forums to participate in and it is crunch time.  I’ve really enjoyed this class, especially because this class has more of a classroom feel to it.  Even though this is an online course, this class utilizes “wikis” on Moodle where we have discussions that are more personal (like the one about the Jung Typology/Myers Briggs personality test that I mentioned in my last post), so we get to know our classmates.  This past week (Week 5), one of our topics was Motivation and Drive, and we had a discussion on what our motivations were for pursuing our…

  • The Dog Days of Summer

    It’s Week 4 of LIS 404!  Oh, my goodness, this class has been keeping me on my toes!  As I’ve said before, this class is a lot shorter than a regular semester class, but we’re doing the same amount of work, which is a little bit intense!  There’s a lot of material to cover in a short amount of time, so each week there’s an abundance of readings to be completed, notes to go over, and lectures to watch.  I know that theoretically it is same amount of work as a regular semester class just in an accelerated timeframe, but between this class and my summer class last year, I feel that there is a lot more reading in summer classes than there is during the semester.  However, this could just be because of the timing- maybe I just don’t notice the amount of reading as much because it is more spaced out during the regular semester classes?    These past two weeks have been more ‘participation’ weeks rather than ‘assignment’ weeks, with us participating more…

  • The Summer Semester Has Begun!

    The summer semester has begun!  This summer I am taking one class, LIS 404: Principles of Management.  Summer classes at SLIS are shorter in length than normal semester classes, but have the same amount of work.  My class this summer is only seven weeks long.  You may have noticed in Amie’s post that she is also taking LIS 404, and we are both in the same online class section, so that’s exciting!  The really good thing about this class is that all of the course content is available, so we truly can move at our own pace.  There are due dates of course, but if I want to see what assignments are coming up, or work ahead, I have the option to do so.  For my summer course last year, there was a lot of “locked” course content, everyone had to move at the same pace.  I understand the logic behind that, but with the shortened time frame and so many things being due each week, I really appreciate being able to know what is…

  • Summer Reading

    Summer Reading Summer is here!  My summer class (LIS 404: Principles of Management) doesn’t start up until next week, but the course materials are online, so I’ve been trying to get head start by looking at the readings and seeing what my assignments are.  I remember how busy last summer was as summer classes at SLIS are shorter than actual semester-long classes (my summer class this time is only seven weeks long).  Even though I’m looking ahead to my summer class, I’ve been enjoying my last few days of summer break by reading and relaxing.  I’ve been reflecting on what I used to do during summer break when I was a child.  One of my favorite activities was the summer reading program at our public library.  I was a voracious reader as a child (I still am–not an uncommon trait for someone in the SLIS program), and I not only did the summer reading program at the library, but also at all of our local bookstores.   One of the reasons why I’ve been thinking about…

  • Fourth Class: Complete!

    Last week was my final week of class!  My fourth semester, and fourth class of grad school is over!  I’m done with LIS 451: Academic Libraries!   I originally thought it was a bit strange having our big final group project due, and then having one final week of class with lectures, readings, and participation after that, but as our final week was about academic library careers and job interviews, as well as future trends in academic libraries, I think it was a nice way to wrap up the class.  In all of my other classes, the final week has been this big stressful build up, and then I turn in my final project, and then that’s it, we’re done.  While sometimes that’s very cathartic, I really appreciated the opportunity to reflect and think ahead in the final week of this class.  I ended up completing my final week of class on the road because I’m currently on a short summer break for my job!  Yay for intersessions!  As I work in an academic library, I’m…

  • One Week Left!

    My final group project for LIS 451: Academic Libraries is done!  Completed!  Turned in!  As I’ve mentioned in a few previous posts, the final project for LIS 451 is a Committee Group Project which you work on with a group throughout the semester.  The final product was a written report as well as a recorded presentation.  As this is an online class, my group collaborated via Google Docs and presented our project using Voicethread.  I was on the Space Planning Committee, where our charge was to assess the current use of first floor space in a library and make specific recommendations for improvement.  One of our group members is actually a library director at an academic library (she is a Ph.D. candidate) so we chose to use the library she works at as our model.  This project was really interesting and useful as this task is something that a Space Planning Committee could have actually been given in an academic library.  Additionally, this project was great in another way that I didn’t think of until…

  • Spring Is Here!

    Spring is here!  The birds are chirping, flowers are starting to bloom, and most importantly, it is not cold outside!  There is still (still!) a pile of snow in my yard that refuses to melt, but I think it is on its way out.  With the weather getting warmer, it makes me think about how close the end of the semester is.  We’re in Week 12!  Where has all the time gone?  It feels like we just started!  I think a part of the reason why this semester has flown by so fast is because I’ve been so busy.   I usually try and take time to relax, and lift my head out of my books, but I haven’t been doing that lately as my schedule has been getting more intense.  The busier I am, and the more stressed I am, the faster time seems to go (even though it really isn’t moving quicker).  I really should work harder on scheduling time for relaxation–at the beginning of each semester I start out strong and schedule time…

  • We’re In the Home Stretch!

    There are exactly five weeks left until the end of my class, and exactly four weeks left until my final group project is due.  Not to mention all the other activities, readings, and lectures to be completed.  We are in the home stretch!  The final few weeks of a semester are always overwhelmingly stressful with assignments and projects, and I don’t know about you, but my school-work-life-sleep balance is very much out of whack right now.  Last year around this time I posted some tips for dealing with stress, and I thought they might be useful to repost, so if you want to check them out, click here! My class this semester, LIS 451: Academic Libraries, is so fascinating, and has challenged me in so many different ways.  Our semester-long group project (which is due in four weeks), really is a culmination of everything we have learned throughout this class.  This project is Committee Group Project, where we all sign up for a committee, and each committee has a task, and we submit a written…

  • It’s That Time Again!

    It’s the most wonderful time of the semester…registration!  Not only is it registration time for Summer 2019, in just a few short weeks it will be Fall 2019 registration, so it’s time to think about that as well. Here’s my dilemma, and if you’ve read some of my past posts, you know a little bit about this.  When I came to Simmons, I started in the Archives Management program, and I created my course planning roadmap under the impression that I was going to continue in Archives Management.  I also decided to take my first class, LIS 407: Information Sources and Services online, whilst fully planning to take the majority of the rest of my classes on the ground in Boston.  Then, I got a job not in Boston and realized that I may not actually want to continue on the archives track, so I’ve been taking classes one at a time online, hoping that there will be an in-person class that will mesh well with my work schedule and that I will figure out…

  • Spring Break!

    It is Spring Break everyone!  Does it feel like Spring Break to you?  It certainly does not feel like Spring Break to me.  We are not having Spring Break-esque weather with the snow and the freezing cold and everything.  Last year for Spring Break I participated in the SLIS Alternative Spring Break program at Papercut Zine Library, but this year I have to work so sadly I am unable to participate this time around.  This year they are working with The History Project, The Prison Book Program, 826 Boston, and Papercut Zine Library. I had a great time last year and I learned a lot, and volunteering is a great way to give back to the community while also gaining valuable experience!  Also, last year I had recently moved to the area and it was a great way for me to meet new people.  The Alternative Spring Break program is an excellent way to get involved at Simmons, to give back to the community, and to gain experience.  This year for Spring Break, as I…

  • Time Flies

    Oh my goodness as of today I have officially entered Week 5 of LIS 451: Academic Libraries!  My class is already a third of the way over!   It feels like we just started. Can you believe it’s almost March? A part of me thinks that is a good thing though- this class keeps me so engaged, so interested, and so busy that it doesn’t feel like it has been a long time (although five weeks isn’t too long of a time).  This class has been so interesting and so, so useful for me.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I currently work in an academic library as a Reference Assistant, and between my job and this class it has really given me a sense of what the future might have in store for me if I were to make academic libraries my future after I get my degree.  Just this last week in class we had a Journal Subscription Budget exercise where we were given database usage statistics and their cost for some universities, and…

  • First Weeks

    So it has been a crazy few weeks!  First, the weather has been insane.  We’ve had super cold weather, we’ve had snow squalls, we’ve had ice, we’ve had rain, we’ve had sun, we’ve had wind, and yesterday the high was 63 degrees!  We’ve had a little bit of everything!  Will the weather ever make up its mind?  Every day is a surprise!  I thought one of the things about living in New England was guaranteed freezing cold weather all the time in the winter, but the past two days have proved me wrong (although I’m certainly not complaining because I did not enjoy the snow squalls last week, and I do not want anything similar to the polar vortex the Midwest experienced).  The first few weeks of class have been going great!  As you know, I’m taking LIS 451: Academic Libraries this semester.  It’s my first elective at SLIS, and my last blog was posted on the first official day of my class, so I didn’t have many details to share, but now I do! …

  • And We’re Back!

    Happy 2019 everyone!  The Fall 2018 semester wrapped up a little over a month ago and school is officially back in session.  Additionally, because I work in an academic library, I got almost three weeks off of work because of the intersession.  I must say, as much as I love school and work and libraries, it was nice to not think about any of that for a few weeks.  So, what did I do during my time off?  I had such grand plans for my break, because I wasn’t going to have any homework, and I wasn’t going to be at work, and I had a nice solid chunk of time off where I could actually do things and go places.  However, absolutely none of my plans came to fruition.  I did absolutely nothing over my break and it was wonderful.   I have no regrets.  I did see Mary Poppins Returns if that counts as doing something, but aside from that, I really just spent most of my time hanging out at home in my…

  • One Year Down!

    I have officially completed my first year at Simmons!  I started in Spring 2018, and I’ve just finished the Fall 2018 semester.  I’ve completed all three of my core LIS classes- LIS 407 (Information Sources and Services), LIS 415 (Information Organization), and LIS 488 (Technology for Information Professionals).  I’ve learned so much over the past year, and I’ve made such huge strides both personally and professionally.  While the past year has been challenging at times, it has also been extremely rewarding.  Here’s a quick wrap up of some of the lessons that I’ve learned and things that I have accomplished over the past year: I’ve learned so much about search strategies and techniques, instruction, finding and evaluating information, the way information is organized, circulation and cataloguing, ethics and professional standards across the industry, and so much more, and I’ve been able to directly apply nearly everything that I’ve learned so far in my professional life.  I have learned that coding is an incredibly useful tool and it is not something to be feared.  However, learning…

  • Reflections

    As of last night, my final project is complete and turned in!  As I mentioned last week, the final project for my LIS-488 class (Technology for Information Professionals) is a personal website and portfolio, coded by hand using the skills that I developed over the course of this class.  There were some shaky moments during the process of doing this project, but I was able to either troubleshoot and solve everything, or compromise and change my original plan to work with what I had.  All in all, I think that my final product looks pretty similar to the original paper mock-up that I sketched out over Thanksgiving.  I’m really proud of this final project, although I should really stop looking at it, because I’ve noticed a few things that I would like to go back and change, but what’s done is done and I need to walk away and not dwell on it.  This semester has been a wild ride for me.  If you’ve been following my past posts, you know that I was a…

  • It’s Crunch Time

    It’s crunch time everyone!  My final project is due next week.  The class discussion doesn’t end until December 10th, so I suppose that is the official end date, but the project is my main priority.  My final project for LIS 488 (Technology for Information Professionals) is a personal website and portfolio that I have developed and built myself and coded by hand.  I have a lot of the groundwork done- I have a paper mock up of what I want the pages to look like (no guarantees that it will actually look like this!), I have most of the HTML coding done, I’m working on the CSS, and I think it’s starting to come together.  On one hand, I’m so, so impressed that I now have the skills to do this.  On the other hand, I’m panicking because I’m making a website by hand.  I’ve never had to code anything in my life before this class, and now I’m coding an entire website.  I feel a sense of accomplishment and pride every time I see…

  • Nonstop Action!

    In my last post, when I said “life is getting pretty hectic,” that was an understatement.  I thought my description was accurate last week, but I was just part of the way through the mountain of work that awaited me.  Since last week, I have gotten sick (get your flu shots everybody!), completed yet another huge project, have tried (and succeeded) to keep up with my weekly labs and readings, and have begun to think about my final project.  Additionally, this is registration week!  I’ve been talking about my plan for a while and it is now time to put that plan into motion!  This has been a week of nonstop action, with not a lot of time to rest (which I can tell you from experience, is not the best thing for being sick).  In fact, I had my first all-nighter of grad school this past week!  I don’t usually pull all-nighters (I think I only had to do it twice in undergrad) because I really need to stay on a good sleep schedule…

  • Registration Part 2!

    I have an update on my last post!  So my desk is completely covered in Pro/Con lists, and I have officially decided to not take LIS 438: Introduction to Archival Methods and Services next semester, therefore delaying my decision on deciding what to do about my concentration and instead just take an elective.  I know at the end of my post last week it seemed like I had talked myself into doing that, but then I started going back and forth again, but now I have decided!  The world, and course catalog, is my oyster!  So many wonderful choices!  I’m now trying to decide between a few different classes.  I’m planning on continuing to do what I’ve done for the past few semesters and only take one class.  Between work, my personal life, and financially, taking one class a semester has really worked for me.  Also, unless if I can find a Saturday class that works for me, or a blended class that has a really good time, because of my work schedule next semester,…

  • Registration!

    Registration time is upon us!  And…I have no idea what class to take.  As of December, I will be a fourth of the way through my program, and I’ll be done with my required core LIS courses.  Now, I am currently in the Archives Management concentration, so logically, I should be taking LIS 438: Introduction to Archival Methods and Services, which is a prerequisite for a lot of the archives classes and is the recommended first archives class.  However, in a past post of mine, I talked about how I was thinking about switching from the Archives Management concentration to just the regular DYO Library and Information Science MS degree, and I still haven’t decided what to do yet!  It would make sense to take an archives class to be absolutely positive that I don’t want to do the Archives Management concentration, but I honestly don’t know if I can take LIS 438 next semester with my work schedule.  LIS 438 is a course that includes a required 60-hour internship, and I’ve talked with some…

  • Halfway There!

    Well, we’ve just about reached the halfway point in the semester!  My fall class has certainly been keeping me busy.  As I’ve said in previous posts, I’m taking LIS 488 (Technology for Information Professionals) this fall, and I’m taking it online.  The last time I talked in detail about the class on this blog, it was still the beginning of the class, so we hadn’t really taken a deep dive into anything too computer-y.  I thought I’d give you a quick update on how things are going since then as we have now reached the halfway point.  I have learned how to code.  I mean, I am still a beginner, but we’ve gone through units on HTML and CSS, and we’re starting JavaScript this week.  The random strings of numbers and letters that make up the backbones of webpages actually means something to me now.  As you may recall from previous posts, this was one of the things that made me nervous about taking this course.  My mindset going in to this class was that…

  • A Whirlwind of Activity

    Oh my goodness the past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity!  So many things have happened!  I flew to North Carolina to be a bridesmaid in a good friend’s wedding, which was very exciting.  I have been to several weddings, especially in the past year, but I’ve never actually participated in one, so it was a new experience for me.  I was so thrilled for the couple, I’ve known the bride for ten years and she is one of my best friends, and it was my first time back to North Carolina since I’ve started at Simmons.  I completely forgot how hot it is in October in North Carolina!  It was about 90 degrees and extremely humid every single day I was there.  Additionally, while I was at the wedding, I met someone who was considering pursuing their Master’s in Library and Information Science.  It’s really funny, at the past three weddings I’ve been to, I’ve either met someone who has gone to Simmons SLIS, someone who works in the LIS field, or…

  • A Fall Outing

    I went on a wonderful fall outing this past week!  Ever since I moved to Massachusetts I’ve been working on trying to explore the area more.  I research things to do and places to visit online, I ask classmates and colleagues where to go, and sometimes I just stumble across places as I go about my day.  One thing that several people told me was that I couldn’t go through a fall in New England without a trip to an apple orchard.  I’ve noticed that there is an abundance of apple orchards near where I live, and it feels like there are far more here than there were North Carolina.  This past week, I decided to take the advice that was given to me and I visited an apple orchard with my family.  We went to Tougas Family Farm in Northborough, MA.   At the farm it is currently apple and pumpkin picking season.  During other times of the year, you can pick other kinds of fruit such as strawberries (early June to early July), cherries…

  • Surprising Myself and Time Management

    The third week of my fall class (LIS 488: Technology for Information Professionals) just started, and things are going much better than I thought they would.  I’ve mentioned several times before how nervous I was for this class because of how technology focused it is, but things have been going really well so far.  I’ve really stepped up my time management skills and have devoted at least two hours a night to working on the material for this class, whether it be the readings, lectures, note-taking, labs, or other assignments.  A part of the reason why I’ve been doing this is because I learned from the accelerated nature of the class I took this summer, and because of my overall apprehensiveness regarding the material for the class.  Due to the way I’ve been managing my time for this class I’ve been finishing my weekly labs well in advance of the due date.  However, this week we’re starting HTML, so I’m a bit nervous, but I’m hoping that I’ll continue to surprise myself with my technology…

  • A New Semester Begins!

    My fall class (LIS 488: Technology for Information Professionals) started last week.   As I’ve mentioned before, while this is an online class, it’s a bit of a new adventure for me because there are a few “live sessions” incorporated in to the schedule.  These live sessions aren’t in-person, they are GoToMeeting sessions where everyone is online at the same time and we can see and hear the professor.  Our first day of class had one of these live sessions and it was very exciting!  I’ve done videoconferencing for work and for group projects via Skype and Google Hangouts, but I’ve never done it for class before.  I did have some technical difficulties connecting to the meeting, but once I got them ironed out, I really enjoyed the component of the live session.  We had a segment where we were able to introduce ourselves and we could see and hear everyone, which is an element that I’ve missed from in-person classes.  While I really love interacting with my classmates on the discussion forums, the live session…

  • Fall is Here!

    Fall has arrived!  Well, technically fall doesn’t start until September 22, but it certainly feels like fall.  The weather is getting slightly colder, the leaves are beginning to change, and the fall semester has just begun (my class literally just started last night).  I must say, I really enjoy how classes do not start until September here.  Even the elementary, middle, and high schools in Massachusetts didn’t start until last week (at least that’s when they started in my area).  My entire life, school has always started in early-to-mid August, no matter what state I have lived in.  I’m really enjoying waiting until fall to go back to school.  As the seasons have started to change, I have been trying to partake in some fun fall activities.  Last weekend, I went to the Autumn Arts and Crafts Festival at the Historic Wayside Inn in Sudbury, MA.   It was a great outdoor craft fair with a ton of vendors and exhibits, and I bought some fabulous items!  There seems to be a lot of festivals in…

  • The End of Summer

    So, I thought that my fall class started next week- I was wrong.  Guess who gets two more weeks of summer?!  That’s right, I do!  The students in my class got an email from our professor a few days ago giving us details about the class (LIS 488: Technology for Information Professionals), and it said that our start date is September 11, which means that I get more time before school starts!  Now that I have the syllabus and some more details about the class, I can see that this is going to be different than other online classes that I’ve had.  There are going to be a few “live sessions” where everyone is online and interacting with each other at the same time, which I’m really looking forward to!  While I’ve gotten to interact with my classmates during online classes before, it’s been mostly through forums, and we reply to each other at our leisure.  With the live sessions (I assume) we will actually be able to see one another and participate like an…

  • From Summer to Fall

    It. Is. Over.  My summer class is done.  The class (LIS 415: Information Organization) was interesting, invigorating, and utterly exhausting.   I know I’ve said this before, but one of the reasons I really enjoyed the class was because even though it was an online class on an accelerated schedule, we had so many opportunities for discussion.   Additionally, the new concepts I learned will be useful to me throughout my career.  I learned so much about why and how we organize information.  The class challenged me to think in new ways, and I am walking away with a valuable set of new skills which I will use in future classes and in my profession.  However, I did struggle with the accelerated timeframe of the class.   What really helped me was setting aside designated hours of each day to work on schoolwork.  Admittedly, that didn’t always help, because I underestimated the amount of work in the beginning (it’s double the work of the normal semester because it’s done in half the time), so there were a lot…

  • Not So Lazy Days of Summer

    It is currently Week 6 of my online summer class.  Now in a usual semester, which is 14 weeks long, we would just be approaching the halfway point.  But, as this is a summer class that is only 8 weeks long, I only have 2 weeks remaining, and it is crunch time.  We have accomplished a lot in a very short amount of time in this class.  I’ve learned so much!  However, there is still a lot of work to be done and topics to be covered in the remaining weeks.  I have a group project to finish, numerous readings to complete, several assignments and exercises to do, and lots of discussion forums to participate in.  One of the key takeaways from this experience is that summer classes require you to be at the very top of your game.  As it is the full amount of work for a semester class in half the time, there can be no slacking off whatsoever.  You have to manage your time very wisely.  Balancing school, work, and your…

  • Summer Has Arrived

    Oh my goodness a heatwave has hit Massachusetts!  If summer wasn’t here before, it has definitely arrived now.  I must admit, I’m not really a fan of excessively hot and humid weather, and I’m glad that it seems to be cooling down just a bit.   Because of the heat, I’ve been trying to stay indoors with my beloved air conditioning as much as possible.  Between work and my summer class, it really has not been difficult.  As I mentioned in my last post, my summer class is online, and we’re fitting 14 weeks’ worth of material into 8 weeks.  The class is keeping me very busy between the readings and assignments, but I’m really enjoying learning all the new concepts and interacting with my classmates.  We’ve been learning about information organization, metadata, and as of this week, encoding standards.  I will admit, learning all the new material in the shortened time frame has been a challenge, but it has been an enjoyable one.  One of the best parts about this class is that there…

  • Of Classes and Museum Passes

    Oh my gosh the past few weeks have been so busy!  My class officially started last week and it’s been a wild ride!  It’s been all good so far.  There are a lot of opportunities for group discussion in this class (even more than my last class), so I don’t feel like I’m missing the student interaction part of an in-person class at all!  Admittedly, it is all behind a screen and in a forum, but still.  The summer class is a bit intense though.  We’re fitting 14 weeks’ worth of material into an 8-week class, which is a bit daunting.  But so far everything has been great, and the material is really interesting!  On a more fun-related note, I’ve finally gotten around to doing some more sightseeing!  I went into Boston to go to the Museum of Science with my family.  When my dad was a child, he had a book with a Van de Graaff generator in it, and he’s wanted to see one in person for a long time, so that’s what…

  • Pondering the Future

    So, readers, my little summer break is almost over.  My new class starts next week (LIS 415: Information Organization).  As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, it’s an online class again and I’m excited to start.  I am a little bit ambivalent about the shorter timeframe, but I’m really excited about the topic and I’ve already started in on the reading.  Over the past few weeks I’ve been pondering my future a lot.  Currently, I’m doing the Archives Management concentration within the MS in Library and Information Science program.  Even though I’m near the beginning of the program and am still taking my core classes, I can’t help but wonder whether or not the Archives Management track is right for me and if I should instead be doing the design-your-own option.  I’ve been doing a lot of informal networking lately, and through my discussions with other librarians I’ve started to think about what I really want to do with my life once I graduate from Simmons, and if archives will play a role in that. …

  • Local Discoveries

    I’m not going to lie, I’ve kind of failed on the planned adventuring. As I said last time in my post, I was planning on discovering more of Massachusetts on the weekends, and I was going to plan out my trips, and report back. I had a great adventure planned to write about, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. I initially planned to go into Boston and meet up with my sister (to see her for the first time in five months!) and I had a list of places to go, things to do, where to eat; however, I was unaware that first, the MBTA is doing construction on the Commuter Rail that I take on the weekends and that has messed with the schedule, and second, that Boston Calling was this past weekend, so I did not end up going to Boston.  However, I have made some discoveries about Massachusetts in my own neck of the woods. For example, the wildlife. So, as someone who is not from New England, I have had encounters with…

  • Summer is Here!

    Within the past two to three weeks the weather has finally warmed up!  Today it was 85 degrees outside!  Can you believe it?!  I can barely believe that just a few short weeks ago I was wearing a parka.  Practically overnight all the trees have leafed out and everything is now so green.  It just suddenly appeared.  This is the weather I have been waiting for!  However, as I am writing this post, there is currently a tornado warning and it is pouring rain, so I guess I can’t have everything.  As I mentioned last time, I’m done with classes and I have a bit of a break before my next class starts on June 19, so I’m taking advantage of my time off to try and discover more of Massachusetts on the weekends, as I am kind of new to the area.  Also, once class starts, I still want to try and explore while the weather is nice.  A few months ago, I found the Massachusetts Office of Tourism and Travel’s website while working…

  • First Semester: Complete!

    As of 11:55 PM last night, my first semester at Simmons is over!  Not that I was counting the minutes or anything.  All of my lectures are done, readings completed, and my final project has been TURNED IN!  Even though this class was a lot of work, I loved every minute of it and learned so much.  As I said last week, I’m really proud of everything I’ve accomplished this semester, and now I have a break from schoolwork until mid-June, which is when my summer class starts.  Because I have had absolutely no free time whatsoever for the past few weeks until today because of school, stress, and personal life issues, I am a little bit relieved that I will be having a break from schoolwork, just for a little while.  As I will now be having free time, I plan on catching up on some reading.  I’ve really been slacking off-  I’m a voracious reader, and I usually try and read several books a month but I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t…

  • The End is Near

    I have less than one week until my first semester is over.  My final project is due next Tuesday, May 1, and then I am done with my first semester at Simmons.  I’m happy, stressed, excited, and terrified all at the same time because it’s crunch time and I’m working away on my project and I can see my deadline looming closer but I know I have a break coming up (until my summer class starts). This semester has gone by so fast and I’m so proud of the work I’ve done and all of the new skills I’ve acquired.  In just this one class, I’ve learned how to conduct reference interviews, I’ve learned about ready reference sources, I’ve learned about ethics and professional standards in the library and archives industries, I’ve learned a variety of new search strategies and techniques for databases and web sources, I’ve learned about evaluating information and resources, I’ve learned how to plan and create a basic instruction session, I’ve learned about making LibGuides, and so much more!  I think…

  • Job Hunt

    Before I applied to Simmons, I did thorough research on the Master’s of Library Science programs and what types of jobs you can get after you graduate.  Unfortunately, what I did not have was experience working in a library.  The only experience that I had working in a library was volunteering in middle school to help sign people up for the summer reading program (I’m pretty certain that doesn’t count).  The thing that was stressed over and over in the information sessions that I attended before applying, and while meeting with my advisor, and in class was to get experience during your time at Simmons.  So, right now, I’m looking for that experience.  The Archives Management concentration does require an internship course, LIS 438: Introduction to Archival Methods and Services, so I know I will get some experience when I take that class.  However, I’m not taking that class now so I’m hoping to find something before I take that class, whether it be a paid job, an internship, and/or more volunteer experience.  As I…

  • Updates

    I cannot believe how quickly this semester has gone by!  It’s already the second week of April, and I only have three weeks left in this semester.  As I mentioned in my previous post, last week was Fall 2018 registration, and this fall I am taking LIS 488, which is Technology for Information Professionals.  I’m not going to lie, I am a bit nervous about taking that class because while I am a child of the Internet, and I know my way around a number of technological devices, I do not know much about coding and programming.  However, I have heard nothing but encouraging things about this class, and I am eager to learn new skills.  In other news, I have officially decided to take a class this summer.  I have signed up, and I have organized my schedule so that it will fit, and I am ready to go!  I am taking LIS 415, which is Information Organization.  Admittedly, I was hoping to actually make it to Main Campus for my next class, meet…

  • School and Stress

    I’m in the final push of my first semester of grad school.  I just checked Moodle for my online class and I only have four weeks left.  FOUR WEEKS.  This semester has been so amazing, but unfortunately it is currently the most stressful part of the semester with readings, essays, online forums, and final projects being due soon.  Add real-life interference and Fall 2018 class registration being this week and that leads to stress.  Here are some things that I am doing to combat stress that may be useful in your life: Make a list:  Making a list of everything that needs to be done and checking things off of it as those things get done actually can be very soothing because you can really see what has and has not been done. Walk:  My mom has always stressed the power of walking, and how much good it can do for you, and I never actually believed her until I went to college, and I got stressed while writing a paper.  I went on a…

  • Travelling and Books

    As I mentioned in my last post, I am in California!  It is currently a balmy 72 degrees outside, and I am enjoying the break from winter (although it has apparently warmed up in Massachusetts since I left).  One of the (very few) benefits of a long six-hour flight from Boston to San Diego is that it gives you a long, uninterrupted period of time to read.  As a future librarian, I obviously love to read and am a hardcore bibliophile, and I always am grateful for any opportunity to read.  Unfortunately, my life has been pretty busy lately, so I haven’t had much time for leisure reading in the past few months, but as I said, the flight gave me some time to catch up.  Here are some of the books that I read (or in one case re-read) on my flight, all of which I recommend to you: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle Admittedly this was a re-read, but I love this book to pieces, and I had not picked this…

  • Online Classes

    Simmons SLIS has a variety of ways you can take classes.  They offer classes on the ground at the Boston campus, SLIS West (South Hadley, MA), and the Eric Carle Museum (Amherst, MA), blended classes with some sessions on the ground and some online, and fully online classes. The flexibility in class scheduling is something that is unique to Simmons and was one of the factors that helped me select Simmons as the place to get my graduate degree.  As I mentioned in my first blog post, I am going the online route this semester.  One of the great things about taking online classes is that you can do it from anywhere.  Well, anywhere that has a Wi-Fi connection that is. One of the reasons why I decided to go to school online was because I am new to Massachusetts and I wasn’t sure if I could get from my home, which is about 20 miles outside of Boston, to classes in Boston in the snow.  The way the past few weeks have gone, with…

  • Library Science Realization

    I’m only halfway through my first semester of library school and I’m loving every minute of it.  However, making the decision to go to library school wasn’t an immediate realization for me.  When I was in undergrad, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life- I just knew I didn’t want to work in the medical field or be an engineer.  I chose my major and minor, communications and English, because I thought they would pair well with my love of reading and writing.  It was not until I met with a career counselor during my second year at UNC Chapel Hill that I started to consider pursuing an advanced library science degree.  Most of the people in my major were planning on getting their MBA, getting a law degree, or working in social media and all of those careers did not really sound appealing to me.  I knew I could do those jobs, but my goal was to be happy in whatever career I ended up pursuing.  During the meeting,…

  • Adjusting to Life in New England

    I have lived in nearly every part of the country except for the New England area, and it has been a bit of a transition.  Every place I’ve moved to has its own culture and has been a different experience, and I’ve loved them all in their own way.  Here are some experiences I’ve had that are unique to this region: The Driving:  I have never been more terrified on the road.  Double yellow lines apparently mean nothing here, and everyone is so aggressive on the road.  Public Transportation: Even though I have lived in cities, I’ve never lived in a city that has had a super comprehensive public transportation plan like the Boston area does.  Just today I rode the Commuter Rail, the T, and a bus.  Learning to navigate the MBTA has been an interesting learning experience though.  I’m so happy that we have the MBTA and that I can easily get in to, around, and out of Boston.  The Accent: Why is Worcester pronounced Wooster? And Quincy pronounced Quinzy?  I just can’t…

  • A Pleasant Surprise

    As a brand-new grad student, and a brand-new Massachusetts resident, I must admit I was extremely ambivalent about taking an online class my first semester.  I don’t know anyone in Massachusetts except my parents, and I really wanted to get out there and mingle with my fellow students.  Also, I only took one online class my entire time in undergrad and it was very much an individual experience, as in, I did not talk to my classmates, ever. I’m finding myself to be pleasantly surprised by my online LIS 407 course.  I’m getting to know so much about my classmates and there is a lot of group discussion in the forums.  In addition, while I was worried about not having the “student experience,” again, I was pleasantly surprised.  Simmons is so good about sending emails about networking events through their student organizations like LISSA (Library and Information Science Student Organization), so I can come to campus and participate that way.  I’m sure the next few years of grad school will be full of more surprises…