Blogging at Midnight

Time has been flying by lately. For the past few weeks since my last blog post I’ve been scrambling to put together my undergraduate research proposal – I’ll be studying the history of UW-L’s student paper, The Racquet, which will be celebrating its 100th year of publication on December 16, 2010. UW-L celebrated its centennial last year, and I’m not sure that anyone besides myself and Teri knows that The Racquet was started a year after the university opened. I’m excited to hear back from the grant committee; I have very high hopes. I just cannot believe that The Racquet’s history hasn’t ever been studied in depth. The evolution of the paper is truly fascinating.

But anyway, I could go on about that all day. I’m sure I will write more than enough about my project in the near future. Suffice it to say that I am just happy that the decidedly un-fun part of gathering signatures and scanning budget sheets is over. I will be spending even more time in Special Collections if my project does get funded, as all of the old copies of The Racquet are bound and archived there.

LOTS and lots of exciting library-related things have been happening to me lately! I’ve been chatting quite a bit with Rachel, the new E-learning librarian here at UW-L, and she has been awesome as far as providing me with contacts in the library world so that I can keep exploring where I want to go to graduate school. ¬†She graduated from IU just this past May. I think we are going to work on some projects together, one starting this semester and the other/s starting in the spring. More on that later, when I have more information. It’s just really exciting to be getting to know librarians in Murphy Library. They’re the closest things I have to understanding academic librarianship. Plus I’ve kind of sequestered myself over in Special Collections for so long that it’s good to get a little bit more well-rounded in my library exposure :)

This Wednesday-Sunday I will be on a road trip to Washington DC. As a generally not very spontaneous girl, I am majorly leaping out of my comfort zone. As long as we have the bare bones of a plan, I’m good. I am forcing myself to abandon to the universe any impulses to overthink things. I of course am interested in the Library of Congress and the National Archives. While poking around the website of the latter I found this, which I find indescribably adorable:

http://blogs.archives.gov/aotus/

AOTUS! Archivist of the United States! Ha. “Collector in Chief.” I love the sense of playfulness that they are infusing into this blog, not to mention putting a face and voice to what a lot of people consider a personality-less job. People think of archives as…dead. Dusty tomes, boring old tax records. This blog at least takes a stab at changing people’s minds.

As I write this blog post there’s one thing that keeps flitting through my mind: the dreaded grad school applications that I’ve been avoiding. I plan on approaching two of my English professors next week for letters of recommendation…I’ve known them both for two semesters now and I’ve done well in their classes, but I still feel awkward about asking them to sing my praises. I know it’s a necessary evil, but it just makes me squirmy. It feels artificial, like I’m a nuisance. Plus the letters of recommendation are confidential, so it’s torturous not knowing what is being said about you.

Also…my personal statements. I’m a decent writer, but I have no idea what to say in a personal statement. I’ve looked online and asked for advice and still…lots of what I find is conflicting. Again, I think it’s the artifice of it that makes me feel odd about writing a personal statement. Where is the line drawn between being not confident enough and too confident? I am always wary of selling myself too hard; it seems unforgivably tacky. And yet I don’t want to lose out to someone bolder. Bah humbug. All this contemplation irks me. Half my problem is that I don’t know what I want to do. For sure I am head over heels for Special Collections, but beyond that…archives or rare books and manuscripts? Dual-degree program with history or Russian and Eastern European studies?

Who knows. I could end up anywhere next year.

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