Returning to Student Life: Hello, Grad School!

Goodbye, free time.  Hello, higher education.

Last week, I started grad school!  I’m pursuing my Masters in Library and Information Science through the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.  My classes are all online, which enables me to do school while continuing to work full time.

All week, people in my life have been asking how it’s been so far.  My reply has usually been a dubious expression and a weird, semi-coherent grunt. I knew that grad school would be a lot of work, but there’s intellectual knowledge and experiential knowledge.  And, boy, am I learning experientially!

It’s not that my classes are anything I can’t handle.  The workload is large, but definitely doable.  The challenge is adjusting to new pressures and a new routine.  Significant portions of my weekends and days off are now spent hunched over my laptop and pouring through textbooks.

As I learn to be a student remotely, I have to learn to be intentional about taking care of daily business.  I’ve taken for granted having time to cook, shop, clean, do laundry, exercise, etc.  I now have to think about when I’m going to get those things accomplished.

Classes themselves are a mixed bag.  My Foundations of Library & Information Science class is really interesting–it focuses on big picture principles in the profession and the professor integrates Ted talks and lectures in addition to discussion and reading.  My other class, Organization of Information, is really boring.  Most of the content is taught through readings, which are extremely dry and full of unfamiliar terms.  I’m taking extensive notes to try to make sense of it, but all the information blends together after a while.

This fall, I’m also committed to working Sundays at my family’s apple orchard.  It’s an unavoidable responsibility–I live here rent free, I contribute to the family business.  The next couple of months are going to be incredibly busy, with working six days a week and graduate school.  Am I insane?  Probably.

During the crazy-busy time, I hope to carve out little minutes of me-time.  Already, my hour-long commute is becoming a safe haven where I can listen to audiobooks and not think about things.  I hope to keep reading for fun before bed.  If I’m lucky, I can keep piecing together blog posts here and there.  We’ll see.

All in all, I’m glad to be starting grad school.  It’s a necessary step to take as a librarian and it feels good to make a conscious step in my career.  If all goes well, I’ll emerge in two years with a masters degree and three years of practical experience.  That’s not so bad.

9 thoughts on “Returning to Student Life: Hello, Grad School!

  1. Katie September 11, 2017 / 11:15 am

    You got this! I’m sure it will be really hard, but it will be worth it. Just make sure to do self-care as well–otherwise you will get burnt out really quickly. Those drives will help, I’m sure. If it helps with the stress, I’ve been told that grades in grad school matter way less than in undergrad. As long as you pass, you’re good I’m told.

    • Amelia September 11, 2017 / 8:29 pm

      Thanks, Katie! I’ve heard the same thing about grad school being more about passing. At my school, that means getting a B… which should be doable. 🙂

  2. Britta September 11, 2017 / 11:47 am

    Good luck, Amelia! The thought of going back to grad school is starting to excite me (that’s a good thing, as I spent the last two years dreading more school). I’m not sure when that will be happening, and I want a little more experience teaching before deciding if I want to go for a general M.Ed, or something geared toward a more specific education career. That said, it’s exciting to dive into a career path and see where it takes you.

    • Amelia September 11, 2017 / 8:30 pm

      Thanks, Britta! It’s great that you’re starting to get excited about going back to school. I don’t think excited is a word I’d use to describe how I feel about grad school… more “Okay, let’s get this over with.” I hope that your teaching work is going well for you! 🙂

  3. mathiashague September 18, 2017 / 5:14 am

    Interesting read Amelia! Very lucky all your classes are online. I’m very excited to be going back. Good luck with becoming a librarian!

    • Amelia September 18, 2017 / 8:20 am

      Thanks, Mathias! I hope your studies are going well.

  4. College Mate October 1, 2017 / 12:40 pm

    Kudos to you for juggling higher education and a job. What’s your big goal for your masters degree?

    • Amelia October 1, 2017 / 5:01 pm

      Thanks! My goal is to continue working in libraries–it’s necessary to advance in the field.
      I’d love to work in a bigger library in a more populated area than I do now.

      • College Mate October 7, 2017 / 12:07 pm

        That sounds like a dream job – being surrounded by books all day. Good luck with it all!

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