Monday, 12 December 2011

A foreigner reflects

If I learned anything from the Cam23 2.0 and CPD23 programs, it is the importance of reflection!  Today I have my last class of my first semester as a grad student and I thought that this would be the perfect time to reflect on the whole thing thus far: class, studying, America, being 'foreign' etc.

On my trip to NYC
The Return to Studying

Having spent the last year in full time employment with free evenings and weekends not to mention a wage has resulted in some adjustment being required this term!  It hasn't been as bad as I thought.  What has been tricky is having a job on top of studies and I am in complete awe of those with full time work schedules who are also full-time students.  I doff my cap.  My work at the archives has been a great complement to my studies with group projects overlapping and archival exhibitions being discussed in class etc.

The return to studying has not meant the end of networking with those in the profession - far from it.  I began this when I was in Cambridge and was wondering how students would be treated at conferences or when they visited libraries - there is a very positive attitude towards students in library school (by those in the know...they are still ignorami about).  NYLA was a very interesting first major conference and I will definitely go to my next one with more of a game plan in order to get the most out of it!

Hard at work...

The whole style of class is different to what I am used to but I actually enjoy the challenge of talking and holding discussion with a full class.  It is, of course, pretty daunting, but the ideas and opinions that are voiced allow for interesting conversations in a non-judgemental environment - how many more times will we be able to do that once we leave?

One of the sore points for, I think it is fair to say, me and the majority of my classmates, has been group work - I am keeping in mind the fact that we are going to have to take part in group work at all points of our careers and this is good practice for mediating and honing those management skills.

Something that has been a very pleasant surprise has been the positivity of staff and students despite the tough times ahead for libraries.  This course focuses on creating information professionals for the future, not necessarily for now so we do not focus the whole time on the day-to-day running of a library but on where the profession is going and where it will be 20 years down the line.  The day-to-day running can be learned on the job if you are a dedicated worker...what employers want are people who have looked beyond the here and now and are enthusiastic to help their institution go forward.

I have no 'Class' relevant photos so here is one of the marching band.


I am actually a tad shocked by my reaction to America - I rather like it.  In particular, the food is superb...I am not sure how much of my positive food experience has had to do with Ben but I am sure that I will miss diners when/if I leave here.

I have been welcomed with open arms here and am so thankful.  I settled in pretty much straightaway and, although I miss home (and Cambridge), I wouldn't rather be anywhere else.  This year is a fantastic opportunity and I am grabbing it with both hands (anyone who likes slightly cheesy mottos please click here).

This is a tad odd coming from a librarian, but I love my local library here.  Petit has a lovely staff and a monthly book club, which has been a great chance to meet different members of the community and read books that I would never have touched before.  Also, free DVDs - amazing.

America...where pets get ice-cream
Where next?

Tricky question
I am already thinking about my next move and it is a tough one.  With this qualification I will be able to go anywhere in the UK, USA, Australia and NZ.  That is a rather large range and my RSS feed of jobs is starting to scare me.  You can never start thinking about these things too soon and I am up for seeing more of the world.  The challenge of being a foreigner hasn't been too bad here though the red tape has been pretty annoying.  I am not sure I am up for moving lock stock and barrel takes a fair bit of courage.  While it is nice being different, it would also be nice not to have to consider whether what you are saying will need explained or isn't funny because no-one has heard of Stephen Fry etc.  I keep saying that I will wait and see where I get a job...but I have to apply for them first.  This morning I created a Google mail label for 'Jobs'...and so the search begins.

No matter what happens, I have made 'awesome' friends here and this term would have been a tad on the dull side without these guys:

And yes, those are our usual clothes
And with that, I end the Fall Semester, 4 months down, 8 to go.

1 comment:

  1. This was a fabulous reflection, my love! :)