One year ago, I started the GSLIS program worrying about catching up on technology and the laundry, and filled with both anticipation and anxiety about going back to school. It seems like a long time ago.
I am not the same person I was last January. Where there was fear, there is now confidence.
As a future student considering our program, the question you need to ask is, “What happened?” What transformed me from a forty-something who was afraid to get into the car on that very first day of grad school into a confident and comfortable graduate student who embraces challenges and seeks out new professional experiences?
I have been fortunate to have great faculty who have treated me as a fellow librarian regardless of how many credits or how much experience I had. Rather than being intimidating authority figures or haughty experts, they are respectful colleagues. They have helped me to grow, acknowledging that we all come to librarianship from different places. They have encouraged me to step far outside my comfort zone, and that gentle nudge, and the success that followed, has changed me. Students have the opportunity to interact with faculty and other professionals inside and outside the classroom.
In my classes, I am often surrounded by a group of cheerleaders, my peers. We celebrate each other’s successes, share in each other’s struggles, and learn from each other every day. We bring a diversity of experiences to the program. In my most recent face-to-face class, introductions revealed one brand new GSLIS student, two “last class” students, and the majority of us who were “about halfway.” We also had two public librarians, one medical librarian, one school librarian, and quite a few “haven’t worked in a library yet” students. We were male and female, black and white, in our 20s, 30s, and 40s, and commuted anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 ½ hours to be there. One very nice student brought cookies for the class. Go team!
I can’t say enough good things about Beatley library, whether you visit it regularly as a Boston student, or use it remotely as a GSLIS West student. I loved being there when I took a Boston class, but FedEx to my door when I am not in Boston is a pretty sweet deal, and the online resources are reliable and impressive. Beatley librarians are readily available in person or via chat and email, and they seem genuinely excited to help future librarians grow and learn.
Simmons GSLIS professional reimbursement also pays for my professional memberships and events, conferences and webinars…many of which would be unaffordable to most students. There are also great discounts through Simmons for computers, software, etc., and the GSLIS tech Lab, Beatley, the GSLIS West Office, and our host library at Mount Holyoke College offer a wide range of computer services, classes, and access to software tools.
So what changed me?
Yes, I got braver, but I had help from GSLIS. I had considered other LIS programs, but one year later, I am very happy with my choice, and the change in myself, for the better.