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Further Musings

I feel like I was unnecessarily harsh in my post yesterday. Looking at it, there’s nothing I consider untrue or really feel a need to change, but the whole thing kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I think what bothers me is that I came off sounding as though I’m unhappy, and, on the whole, I’m really not. Yes, I think there are some serious problems with Pitt’s program–problems that may lead to a drop in our rank, honestly–but, you know, I’m still there, and I plan to finish my degree. I’m looking forward to next semester’s classes, which I’ve mostly chosen, even though the official schedule isn’t up yet. (An unofficial schedule is available to anyone who bothers Googling for it.) The student groups–something I haven’t discussed, thus far, but ought to–are great; SLAPSG is a little late getting off the ground, but there’s a lot of interest on the part of the student body, and I know the [super active and awesome] local chapter will help us out. SCALA is fabulous: we’re planning on putting together a Book Kart Drill Team (it’s spelled with a “K,” yes) for ALA Annual 2009–I’m heading that up, because I’m involved in ALA already and because I’m Treasurer–a Technology Petting Zoo for students who want to learn about and play with various kinds of technology, and a t-shirt sale. And there’s a new student group, centered around community outreach, called SISCO (which bothers me every time I hear it, because I think about network hardware, but there you go). These are excellent and all make me very happy.

As for my internship at CMU’s Engineering and Science Library, I am really enjoying it and learning a lot. Every time I get really confident about my reference skills, someone comes along with a hard chemistry or math question (why is it never electrical engineering? or even computer science?), which reminds me what a beginner I really am. But that’s really not a bad thing; it just means I am constantly learning. I’m signed up to help give a talk on RSS and Google Reader, in the near future, which I find pretty exciting (and terrifying), and I will be helping at least one of my coworkers redesign her portion of the library web site. I am super excited about these projects. Slightly less exciting–but certainly useful to the library and still a learning opportunity–is a set of ongoing projects, going through a large collection of materials science books donated by a retiring professor and a smaller, but much older, collection of books that belonged to Roberts’ (of Roberts Hall) mentor. A large portion of my time goes, of course, to “other projects as assigned”; earlier this week, I went through some tech reports, to determine whether or not each one was redundant or new to the collection, and last week I picked up some journals from a professor. That kind of thing. I’m hoping for some collection development (spendin’ money!) and more instruction experience, before too long.

So, you know, things are actually pretty good.

On a more personal note, I’ve finally gotten together the bravery and momentum to go out and volunteer for a cause that I think is important (in all that free time I don’t have). That makes me feel pretty good about myself, even if it means I go to bed earlier than I otherwise might on some Friday nights.

And, as I predicted, my schedule is changing: I’ll be working Saturday afternoons, starting in a few weeks, because the other Information Assistant, who used to do the Saturday shift, got a job. (Yay for enjobination!) I’ll have to drop an hour, somewhere in the week (personally, I’m hoping to start at 11am instead of 10am on either Tuesday or Friday morning ;)), to stay on the right side of CMU’s rules, but it will be a good experience; back-up is a phone call away, instead of a short walk away, on weekends. Self reliance and all that!

Also, I have a purple iPod Nano. I love it. It holds all of my music, a bunch of podcasts, and a couple of TV shows. I’ve already used it to listen to supplemental class material that I otherwise wouldn’t. (Because I have very little self control when faced with a computer monitor, I have a very limited amount of time I can spend paying attention/not reading random stuff on the Internet, if I’m at my computer–limited by how many photos I have to sort, actually–and the Panopto-only lectures are going to soak that up; no time for the supplemental material on top of it! But with an iPod, I can listen while I wait for the bus, while I walk out to get tasty Indian food for lunch, etc.) It will make the 5 hour trip to Detroit and back, in early November, into usable time, which will decrease my guilt at going (instead of doing homework). This is a win.

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One Comment

  1. Kirsten

    Hi Coral,FWIW, your criticisms didn’t “sound” overly harsh when I read them–but that may be because I’ve heard similar complaints from other libschool students (including my own internal rantings).There seems to be a tech/practice/theory tug-o-war in most programs; the management class is often lame; and the introductory, everyone-takes-em classes commonly try to cram in too much and cover every possible topic.One of my profs called it the “information fire hose”–learning to deal with it is as much part of being a grad student as learning the content. There’s nothing wrong with picking-and-choosing what to read closely vs what to skim vs what to skip entirely. Especially when you’re taking four classes!

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