fake graduation

Fake graduation. That’s kind of how I feel about this spring. I’d been planning the onslaught of conferences for at least a year prior. The juggling it took to execute my presentations, get straight As (grades aren’t a concern; that just happened), and keep all my jobs was intense. I told myself, Just get through this spring. And now I have and I’m living this absolutely glorious life, just like I knew I would. I’m sure I will have plenty of stressful and challenging times down the road in my career. I look forward to them. But I think I’ve set the bar higher for myself. I also think this next year will be a breeze in comparison. I feel as though I’ve already graduated.

As I await my real graduation next spring, I am enjoying summer in Bloomington. It’s a strange thing: one day, the town just empties. All the undergrads flee and the buses suddenly have a little extra elbow room. I launched into two summer classes immediately upon returning from LOEX, but those ended in mid-June. Now that I’m also forced to cut my hours at IU down to 29 per week, I am just luxuriating in time.

My jobs are exceptional. I feel like I’ve settled into the place I worked toward for the past two years: working mostly independently on fascinating digital projects. I’m still working as the Project Assistant for Avalon Media System. I’m also the Scientific Data Curation Assistant, which expands my brain daily, and the Digital Library Research Assistant, where I’m revisiting geospatial mapping, this time with Neatline. I love going to work! It’s a luxury. I am going to try to be better about sharing some of the fruits of my labor here on the blog. I think much of the work I’m doing now would be of interest to a wider audience–perhaps more so than my usual rambling musings.

I’ve also taken up a worthy summer crafting project. I needed something doable, something with quick and satisfying results. I chose Project Life, which is helping me create binders of my many, many years of photos. Having digital copies on Facebook just doesn’t cut it for me. I wanted something tangible. I have been a hoarder of random ephemera since I was small–I have movie theater tickets, cards, and notes from as early as 10 years old because even then I thought, “This would be really cool to look back on.” Is it any wonder that I’m soon to be a librarian? Is it any wonder that I’m a long-term planner? I say no on both counts. There’s nothing shocking there. It’s in my bones.

I’m also taking day trips, reading, spending time with friends and Neil. I felt guilty at first, like I had something I needed to do that I was neglecting, but then I realized that I was just trapped in my former mindset. I needed to be hyper vigilant this spring, but now I’m content to leave my work at work and come home to only relaxing hobbies (plus extra reading on data management, because I’m newly obsessed). No more spending 8am-11pm in Wells Library.

Soon enough my last year of graduate school will be starting. I am hoping to take an advanced XML course this fall but it remains to be seen whether it will be offered or not. Unfortunately, low enrollment plagues the coolest classes. I’ll also be applying for jobs soon! It’s strange but also not strange. I’ve molded my entire SLIS career to fit my job seeking needs, so in many ways I feel serene about the whole affair. I’ve worked hard and I have a CV I’m very proud of, especially having come to SLIS two years ago without ever having been paid to work in a library. So really, I’m either a good fit for a job or I’m not. Taking a rational approach like this helps me fixate less on the uncertainties lying in wait and instead keep learning more and taking advantage of the projects I’m involved in.

I’ve already spotted an intriguing job that I am thinking about applying for. My instinct is that the timing is just too off: they want applications in by August, and I don’t graduate until next May. I am usually fairly decisive but I’ve gone back and forth on this since my jaw first dropped in amazement at the job description.

One thing is for sure: I will most certainly be applying for the NCSU Fellows program this fall. I learned about this program in 2011, the summer before I came to SLIS, and since then it has been my dream job. I’ve alluded to this before but never divulged it here on the blog. I am eager to learn whether the Fellows program will be a good fit for me or if I will find myself elsewhere next year. (See how good I’m being about embracing uncertainty?)

Although I’m trying to be more laid-back about presentations, I do have two slated for this fall so far. I’ll be giving a Digital Library Brown Bag talk on Neatline in early September. I’ll be presenting a poster about the experience of planning a joint data management/data visualization workshop with my awesome boss/mentor Stacy Konkiel at the Data Information Literacy Symposium at Purdue University in late September. I let the proposal deadlines for the LITA Forum and the Digital Library Federation conference slip by, so I didn’t submit anything there. I might actually attend conferences without presenting!

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