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

SLIS

Inciting Joy at Boston Bookfest

This past weekend, I attended the Boston Book Fest, a day of readings, discussions, and more.While I enjoyed walking through Copley Square to visit the booths of various literary journalsand publishers, my favorite experience of the day was a panel session titled “How to Live:Purpose, Joy, and Dash of Philosophy” with authors Ross Gay, Kieran Setiya, and Ellen Warner,held in Old South Church. Though I attended the session to hear Ross Gay speak about his new book Inciting Joy—I’vegifted Gay’s Book of Delights to many a family member or close friend, and have multipleannotated volumes of his poetry on my bookshelf—I was pleasantly surprised by how much Ienjoyed the other speakers’ presentations, as the titles of their books had not originally piquedmy interest: Life is Hard: How Philosophy Can Help Us Find Our Way and The Second Half: FortyWomen Reveal Life After Fifty. My notes from the session almost read like a prose poem, though not one of Gay’s caliber:“justice is not separate from self-interest — you always must invite guests — speak well ofpeople…


Registration Is Coming…

Last week one of the most-anticipated parts of my semester arrived – course listings! It seems that every year departments post their course offerings for the next term at just the right time; I’m not bored with my current classes per-say, but I am past the midway slump with more items crossed off my assignment lists than still on them, and my end-of-term papers are set squarely in my sights. Knowing how much work I have yet to do, dreaming about next semester and all of the new content I will get to learn is a welcome break.  The new semester also promises a fresh start where I can readjust my schedule to try out a new mode of learning. This semester I stacked my course and work schedule so that I only have commitments Tuesday-Thursday. It’s a lot packed into a little bit of time, but I am really treasuring my four-days-in-a-row off too. Next semester I’m interested in experimenting with an online course or two as I’ve watched my roommate totally thrive with…


Overcoming Techphobia

As an American born in the late ‘90s—not a millennial nor a Gen Xer—I guess I’m something of a “digital native.” Sure, I’m comfortable with most social media platforms and can figure out how to navigate any webpage or app with relative ease, but I’ve always been incredibly daunted by anything I saw as beyond the scope of my self-imposed tech barrier. I mean, I studied English literature as an undergraduate student, and my vision of my life as a librarian usually involves my future self in a hand-knitted wool cardigan surrounded by various dusty books and manuscripts—not sitting in an office writing code or thinking of the best ways to integrate new technology into my work. Any skill on the “techie” side of things—like the back end of that website I’m happy to transfer my data onto—seemed beyond my reach, out of my comfort zone. That idea is changing, and my LIS coursework is forcing me to reconsider my vision. Just this past week, I wrote an image into an HTML code and formatted…


Back to School: Apprehension & Anticipation

Today marks the start of the another school year at Simmons. For me, it is the start of the in-between year as the dual-degree program is three years. For many of my friends in the single-degree program, today is the beginning of the end as they will graduate in the spring. I will use this year of transition to focus on the topic for my history thesis, to become more intentional with my “yes-es” to opportunities that align with my professional goals, to better articulate my professional goals. Already I’m thinking about how best to use the upcoming summer – an LIS course? an internship in a new city? researching abroad for my thesis? volunteering at the National Book Festival in D.C.? Single-degree students face a different set of tasks and questions. Their year is one of job applications and savoring grad student life, of apprehension at the application-interview cycle, of anticipation of fulfilling professional careers and proper paychecks. We are each in different places on the apprehension-anticipation spectrum, but we all share one common…


Internship in the Outer Banks: Collection Closing

Twelve papercuts. Four knuckle abrasions. Three split cuticles. I have finally finished unboxing, foldering, labeling, alphabetizing, and reboxing my collection. 161 archival boxes and 905 folders. In seven weeks. My hands and fingers took a much-needed break this past weekend!  While I’m trying to revel in my sense of accomplishment, I still have two weeks left in my internship. I want to soak in as many additional experiences as possible. There’s a four-shelf display cabinet for an exhibit on my collection in wait. A finding aid that wants to be written. A coffee with my collection’s donor to share. A podcast with the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to record. An oral history with a descendant of the original Outer Banks seafood empire to conduct. Just as my to-do list has reached zero, I have filled it back up.  When I accepted this position for the summer, I made a promise to myself to embrace the slower pace of rural, island life as an antidote to the frenetic energy of studying for…


Interning in the Outer Banks: Personal Information Organization

Although almost a year has passed, I still remember the first Moodle discussion board topic for the course 415: Information Organization. It was my first course in graduate school, and I did not know what to expect. The discussion board topic itself asked us to classify our personal information organization style based on three criteria researchers derived that had been the subject of one of our readings that week. (Yes, you do have readings for your first week of grad school.) I struggled with this post. Not because of the content – I knew exactly where I fell along the personal organization orderliness spectrum – but because this, my level of computer file organizing, was how my classmates would first meet me.  I have returned often to the ideas in that discussion board this summer as I have worked through my internship collection. On the one hand, I have been heartened by the fact that even though the best-laid organizational plans can crumble – life, the passing of time, other unknown factors get in the…


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…