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

SLIS

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…


Interning in the Outer Banks

Billowing white sand dunes, salty sea breezes, and Elizabethan history lurking at every corner – welcome to Manteo, NC in the Outer Banks! Today marks my second full week interning at the Outer Banks History Center (OBHC) on Roanoke Island after I spent my first week virtually due to an outbreak of COVID in the guesthouse I am staying in. A satellite archive in the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the OBHC collects materials about the history of the region – often maritime in nature – ranging from oral histories about life on isolated Ocracoke to extensive photo archives of the generations of beach goers in this late-blooming tourist destination. While Manteo, the town I’m working in, touts itself as the “birthplace of English-speaking America” and as the birthplace of the first English baby born on American soil – Virginia Dare – the collection I’m processing is decidedly more modern. It was donated by a prominent local who served two tenures as mayor, led on a variety of boards and commissions, spearheaded…


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…


Papers, Projects, and Finals – Oh My!

I hope everyone is taking care of themselves this finals season! Part of that for me is turning my heat back on since Boston has been incredibly chilly the past few weeks. I know some people call it the windy city and that is certainly correct on some days. But all the flowers have started to bloom and on my study breaks I’ve been taking walks to look at all of the new shoots starting to come up.  Speaking of study breaks, I feel like every semester I’m continuously updating my study habits. I start out thinking that I have a strong understanding of what helps me stay on top of my tasks…. And then finals roll around and I find myself mistaken. Which isn’t to say it’s been bad, I just now have a better understanding of what DOESN’T work for me and I can adjust accordingly.  Which brings me to the question, what’s everyone’s favorite study hack? As someone who has multiple 20 page papers to write, I found that if I write…


Career Prep: Resume Revamp & Career Fair

April in Boston means occasional sun, occasionally moderate temperatures, and more than occasional networking opportunities! Besides a slew of conferences over the next few months, the Simmons SLIS career fair was this past week. SLIS hosts the career fair virtually on Handshake, a networking app specifically for students and recent graduates. Since I’m still a year away from graduation, I used the career fair mainly as an opportunity to learn about a few potential future employers (and, of course, getting my name out there couldn’t hurt!). I’m on the fence about whether academic or corporate libraries would be the best fit for me, so I signed up for group info sessions for a few of each. I particularly enjoyed a session on Data Management services at the Harvard Medical School library – one of my favorite information science topics from a library on Simmons’ back doorstep! Naturally, I want to put my best foot forward. The Simmons Career Education Center has plenty of advice, but I’ve learned a lot from other sources, too. In March…


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…


Career Fair in Review

Last week I attended the Simmons SLIS career fair.  It was a really informative experience that allowed myself and other students to talk to current LIS professionals about current job opportunities and fields that we should keep an eye on.  I personally attended to get an idea of where the field was at.  I used to, before studying for my masters, work for a museum internship program and would attend these fairs on “the other side of the table.”  So, I was going to see what had changed since then, what my perspective as a student had changed, and hopefully to get some information on the state of LIS fields. I walked away feeling much more informed and confident about my job prospects once I graduate this May, regardless of where I end up.  Everyone I talked to was really kind, helpful, and happy to answer questions.  The best thing was a walked away with was interest in fields, like development fundraising research to law libraries, that I had not before.  And as someone who…


Assignments and Resumes

Now is the time in the semester where everything is busy and lots of assignments are due.  These past few weeks since coming back from spring break I have had at least one major assignment due each week.  It has been a little stressful and certainly busy. But even so, the amount of pride and excitement I get when I finish these assignments is great.  I always feel so much more accomplished than I did going into them and often, I am much more confident of my own skills on whatever the topic may have been, from metadata to programming to book reviews.  It is a wonderful sense to become more confident and surer in my abilities. This is also the case with me polishing up my career materials as I creep closer to graduation.  One of the ways I did this was by attending the Resume Revamp hosted by SLA this week.  I was a great event hosted by the Special Library Association Student Chapter at Simmons where they connected students who submitted resumes…


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…