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

Classes

It’s Good to Be Back

School is back in session, and though we’re only in the second week of the semester, December seems frighteningly close.  Maybe it’s because I’m on a fairly strict deadline of when materials need to be due for my second teaching practicum experience, but there really is not that much time.   But that’s not the point of this post. This post is to revel in how nice it is to be back in a school environment, doing my librarian thing. I have so far spent two days at my practicum site, and I’m already brimming with ideas and glowing with some successes from yesterday.  An 11th grade science class had come in to do preliminary research for their science fair projects.  The librarian I’m working with did a quick overview of Dewey, and then they were off to the stacks.   Some students knew immediately what they were looking for, others grabbed books on science experiments and sat down to review their choices.  But a few students looked puzzled, so I seized the chance to…


The Tale of Two Campuses

I started my Simmons GSLIS career on beautiful West campus, at Mount Holyoke College.  It was a long, two and a half hour drive, but other than a few dicey snowstorms, the commute through the meandering hills of NH and Massachusetts was a pleasant one.  I enjoyed many great books on my MP3 player during the commute, and the faculty and students at GSLIS West were (and still are) a brilliant and supportive bunch. I had two classes that took place on campus and one online…I will blame my online one, with a remarkable Boston professor, for what happened next. Boston?  I got it in my head to take advantage of ALL Simmons had to offer a library science student.  Was I missing something by being on only one campus? Or is the choice simply one of geography? I decided to find out. So, last Saturday I attended my Database Management class on West campus, taught by a library professional and professor from Harvard (who also teaches the class in Boston), and on Monday, I…


Begin Year Two

I’ve been making a lot of trips back and forth between Boston, D.C., and my hometown in Pennsylvania since the end of my internship at the Smithsonian’s NMAI, and I feel like classes crept up on me out of nowhere. I decided to take three classes this semester (instead of two last year) in the hopes that I can finish my degree a little faster. I’m scheduled to take Access and Use; Records Management, and Establishing Archives and Manuscript Programs, and I’m really looking forward to them. I decided not to continue working towards my Masters in History, so I’m down to just the Archives Management concentration. I had a really great talk with my advisor, who was able to address all of my concerns and fears. I’m a much different person than I was when I first enrolled at Simmons, and a lot of my goals have changed. I may pursue a Masters in History somewhere further down the line, and I actually have a ton of ideas for my thesis, but I’ll probably…


Don’t Fear the Syllabus

One of my biggest issues at the beginning of the semester is that I get myself into a tizzy when the professor goes over the syllabus. I get all worked up about the assignments, even the ones that are due sometime in November. “How am I ever going to have that paper done before Thanksgiving?!” should not be a concern in early September. Thankfully, after the first class I never again need to look at the syllabus as a whole. Instead, it becomes a week-by-week guideline, which just seems so much more manageable. Once the semester gets going, everything more or less falls into place. Readings get read, papers get written, and assignments get done. Sometimes it’s all a blur, and sometimes I decidedly labor over things that are miniscule in the scheme of things. For example, when posting to online class discussion forums I have been known to incorporate parallel structure, consult a thesaurus, and vacillate between using a semicolon or a dash. (Note: the posts are almost never graded on content and never…


The Birth of My First Semester…

My first semester with nine credits (all required CORE classes) bore striking resemblance to pregnancy. Being a new student (and an “older” one), not knowing what to expect, reminded me of the excitement and anticipation of being a new mother.  I was so thrilled to be embarking on this new chapter of my life, redefining myself, but it came with some anxiety.  The question, “Would I be a good student and librarian?” felt a lot like “Would I be a good mommy?” The first trimester (first month of school) came with a little nausea (butterflies), followed by the euphoria of the second trimester (2nd month of school) where I felt great – no more morning sickness and a whole lot of confidence and excitement for what lay ahead. Then, as any new mom will tell you, came the hard part — the seemingly never-ending last trimester with its accompanying feelings of being overwhelmed, exhausted, and wanting it to be over.  I would like to see my feet again…or in the case of school, I would…


Debunking the Conspiracy

This morning I saw a bumper sticker with these lovely words of wisdom: “It IS as bad as you think, and they ARE out to get you.” While I cannot attest to exactly what that Volkswagen-driving amateur conspiracy theorist has in mind, I can assure you that that phrase does not apply to Simmons GSLIS. I have nearly completed my first GSLIS semester (yay!), and not once have I felt that it is really that bad or that someone is out to get me. My undergrad experience left me with haunting memories of walking into class the week after taking a test or handing in a paper and having the professor say that half the class failed and the average grade was a 74. I didn’t necessarily feel like my professors were out to get me, but sometimes it did seem that they were going out of their way to put us measly college students in our place. Thankfully, GSLIS has not rekindled that foreboding feeling of failure.


End of Term Projects

  Holy Overdue fines, Batgirl!  I have so much to do this last week of the semester! I could plead an excuse why I don’t have time for a fabulous blog entry this week, but then I thought, why not let you see what a sleep deprived GSLIS student has been up to? As part of a larger Tech tutorial project, I created a sample library website using Drupal Gardens. The actual tutorial is still in progress, but please visit my sample website and tell me what you think!  I will be adding more content and improving the site in response to peer feedback, including yours. http://steenson123moretutorial.drupalgardens.com/ This website is the product of a “How to…” I created for my Technology class.  Be sure to click on all the tabs, links, and complete the short survey…and of course, follow the link at the bottom of the website to “Like” us on Facebook!


Change in Curriculum for Fall 2013

Recently, the GSLIS community received news that beginning with the incoming class of 2013, the curriculum will be changing.  The core requirements are changing (Evaluation of Information Services will be replaced with a Foundations course), the program will increase to 39 credits, and most importantly to me, that there will be a new capstone requirement put in place.  For me as a SLT student, my capstone experiences are my practica, both at the elementary and the high school level.  It’s part of the state licensing requirements, but as I draw to the end of my elementary practicum, I realize just how valuable an experience this is, so much so that before this announcement was made, I was going to write a blog post exhorting new students to sign up for LIS 501, a 150-hour, hands-on internship. Here’s why I approve of this change.


All the Things that are Good for You: Broccoli, Shoveling Snow, and Group projects

You probably remember being a kid and being told, “Eat your broccoli…it’s good for you.”  As a parent, I have had said my fair share of “It’s good for you” moments in raising my daughter.  A couple of specific examples stand out:  “Stacking wood builds character,” and “I know it is hard to work in a group, but it is good for you.” While I have no problem eating broccoli and I love to stack wood, I have had to eat my words on the group project thing.  Just two days ago, on a visit home, as I was stressing about an end of term group project, my daughter gave me a sympathetic smile and reminded me that group projects are good for me. I have to admit that I wasn’t prepared for group projects at GSLIS.  I know we will work in a collaborative environment and so learning how to reach our goals with our peers is important, but there have been some real challenges.


What It Means to be Blended

Blended and Online classes offer amazing opportunities to learn from practicing professionals who genuinely want to share their knowledge and experience with the next generation of library professionals. What could be better than learning from real world librarians! Being my first semester, I had no idea what a Blended class actually entailed.  I knew there would be some face-to-face meetings and other meetings online, but I wasn’t sure what that actually meant in practice. Face-to-face is what it implies – a class meeting on campus in the traditional sense.   My blended class combines face-to-face meetings on Simmons West (Mount Holyoke) campus with synchronous online sessions.  Synchronous means that we all log in at class time – either from home in our PJs or some of us choose to log in together in an empty classroom or in the GSLIS West office. While PJs are appealing, I enjoy the group gathering as it has allowed for some excellent peer interaction and good company with my morning coffee.