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

Real World

Interning in the Outer Banks: An Archival Analogy

An analogy for archival work that they don’t teach you in 438 is this: archival processing is cleaning up other peoples’ messes. Without a key, without a blueprint, without any inkling of what, potentially, the original organizational system that the donor, maybe, possibly, hopefully attempted to follow for at least part of their document-generating life. You, the intrepid archivist must venture through boxes, pulling out sheaves of paper that seem to share nothing in common except the rusty paperclip holding them together, dusting your black pants with the glitter of deteriorating fax paper, and puzzling over the names of repeat characters in the documents like a crime scene detective building profiles for each murder suspect.    Or so I’ve felt these past few weeks processing my first collection. In the midst of the chaos, though, I stumble across little gems that make me forget about the filing conventions my donor seemed to create and then drop on a whim or the fact that desperately-relevant online records for certain local government officials don’t exist. An inspirational quote…


Summer Plans and Projects

Hello and happy (almost) summer! I hope everyone is resting and recuperating from the semester and enjoying their break! I’ve been adjusting to my new work schedule and taking advantage of my free time to spend it on passion projects.  I enjoy playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends so I have two campaigns starting next week and will be starting my own campaign in the coming months. It’s definitely been a stretch outside of my comfort zone to run my own campaign since I am in charge of creating the entire world and subsequent creatures, but I wanted to challenge myself and ultimately get better at it. My campaign is run through Monster of the Week, which is less mechanically heavy than D&D and is more beginner friendly. It definitely has my recommendation if anyone is interested in games similar to D&D but finds D&D overwhelming. I also recommend this to anyone who enjoys writing and world building, definitely allows for skillset growth!  I’ve also been adjusting to my new move with my partner…


Mental Health and Graduate School

There’s no shortage of advice about how to manage mental health as a graduate student. Googling my title returns over 52 million results. And it’s no wonder – a 2017 study found that 25% of surveyed master’s students currently experienced moderate to severe anxiety symptoms, 12% experienced moderate to severe depression, and 22% experienced high levels of stress (Allen, et al., 2022).  I wasn’t surveyed for the study, but I’ve struggled with my own mental health. Happily, I’m in a good place now and able to reflect on a few strategies that have helped me navigate my first year of graduate school: Schedule Downtime For me, it’s important to have both “sociable” downtime and “alone” downtime. Get Moving  Yoga, spin, and Zumba are my favorites, and I’m hoping to try out rollerblading this summer. Careful with Caffeine I’m currently trying to replace one coffee with a fruit smoothie a few times each week. Sleep The single best and biggest thing I can do to improve my mood and resilience is to get at least six…


Simmons Students Present at Boston College Conference

Over the weekend, the Boston College History Department hosted their first annual graduate student conference entitled “Grad Student Voices.” The student leadership team possessed a simple yet bold vision – a conference for graduate students by graduate students. Especially as a student just finishing her first year of her M.A. in History, I found it refreshing to attend an history conference that uplifted graduate voices rather than relegating their voices – and the students themselves – to the corner.  Since the dual degree Archives and History program here at Simmons pairs the M.A. in History as a complement to the M.S. in Archives Management, at times I have struggled to engage with my peers as fellow historians. The dominant attitude is that we are archivists first. And while I take my role as an archivist seriously because of the authority it invests in me in determining what records make it into the archives that future historians will rely on, sometimes I just want to dive deep into the theoretical frameworks and dizzying array of possible…


MBTA Pro Tip

When I think about it now, in front of this blank word document I am typing out to any prospective SLIS students reading this blog, it had to have been around this time last year that I received my admittance letter. I can’t remember the exact date. But I can tell you I was in the network room of what at the time was my new job here in Boston. I was a part time and temporary employee; with no idea this would stretch into at least a year of work in that brown stone near the Commons. There are probably countless things that I could go back and tell myself; things that would have prepared me for the next steps and next few months after I opened my decision email from Simmons that afternoon. I think I’ve done okay without any of that hindsight advice. Maybe my future graduated self will wish to go back and inform this second semester History & Archives student of something. Right now though, the only concrete advice I…


Future Plans

I feel like I blinked, and all of a sudden I’m registering for classes for my third and final year at Simmons! My graduate History thesis is right around the corner, and I can hardly believe it. I’m still deciding on my topic, but I think I’m starting to build a pretty good idea. It feels like the true adult world is coming quicker than ever. Speaking of, this past week I attended the annual Spring SLIS virtual career fair and got to meet with several awesome employers and get some ideas for my job prospects next spring. It’s exciting to hear about all the opportunities that are available for me when I graduate and all the places I can potentially work at.  Until then though, I’m happy to announce I got into all the classes that I wanted for next semester. I will be taking History 562 taught by the new faculty they hired, and LIS 442, one of the required archives courses. I did experience true senioritis though: I kept forgetting that my…


Spring Sprint

From the basket of laundry next to my bed, to the hundreds of unread and unorganized emails in my inbox, the evidence of this semester’s time crunch is everywhere I look.          The workload from my first semester at SLIS didn’t feel like a particularly far jump from the end of my undergraduate career. The reading was heavy, and the papers forced me to slow down and remember back to the kind of academic writing I hadn’t practiced in the year I took between my graduation from Syracuse and starting at Simmons. The three classes did keep me buzzing from one day to the next. But, in a mid-March reflection, I’m realizing now that this semester has been a whole other beast.             I run, often literally, from work, to class, to my LIS 438 field placement. Each of these pieces to my schedule is vital. I can’t miss class, or else then I’ll be behind in content and deadlines. Can’t afford to miss work and still be able to order the delicious food found…


Spring Break?

Next week will be Spring break, and the first one I’ve had since 2016 when I graduated with my BA.  It feels almost surreal as I haven’t had one since being an undergrad due to covid.  It’s left me wondering exactly what will I do with my time off? Of course, part of me will still be working on some course work.  I have some long-term books and projects that are due at the end of the semester that I would like to get a start on.  But I also really need to take this time to relax before the end of my last semester kicks into gear.  It will be a balancing act. But spring break is always a good midpoint marker and it’s weird to think that this semester is nearly half-way over.  It has gone by so fast and has been so great.  I hope I can continue to enjoy it as things turn towards the end and get ready for whatever lays ahead for me. But like I said earlier, I…


Garden Archives

Sometimes, the semester is busy and the world is loud. The long and short of this week’s blog post is that I need a distraction…             Today’s particular break comes in the form of the Smithsonian Archive of American Gardens. According to their website, the Archive “Collects, preserves, and provides access to visual resources that document the history of gardens in America” and “Inspires new ways of interpreting garden history and design so that America’s rich garden heritage can be better understood, appreciated, and enjoyed today and in the future”. All of these are very noble and worthwhile causes. But really, I turn to this Archive to see some lush, green vignetted photography when Boston is feeling slushy and the rest of the world particularly smokey.            The collection seems to be entirely digitized, and can be browsed by state, garden structure/furniture/feature, or by type. Looking for the familiar flora of your home state? How about indulging your pastoral interests with some topiary or trellises? If you’re like me and dream about that herb garden you…


There You Are

            Lately when I am not in class at Simmons, it feels like I’m only ever at my job. It isn’t technically a bad feeling in itself. I work, essentially, as records management at a financial firm right off the Boston Commons. When you squint, my job responsibilities look like archival work. I am tasked with taking the old files from my office basement, some older than myself and all slightly funky with various degrees of water damage, and digitizing, organizing, then shredding them. My closest colleague is our network room printer. He is large and one of the more temperamental machines that I have had the pleasure of toiling beside. I don’t do much appraising, just checking that the tax returns are over seven years old before I send them to the document organizer where all files go to die.             The problem is that this feeling of constant work is paired with the second semester of graduate school conviction that I am terribly behind everyone else. My work does not have a museum…