Library School, Hurricanes, and other Life Events

So, last month I officially started library school! After deciding…I think it’s four years ago at this point, that I wanted to be a librarian, I am finally enrolled in an MLIS program! Taking classes and everything! It’s a little weird, my mindset has been “when I finally get started in an MLIS program” for so long, and now I’m here.

And I was planning to write a post about that a few weeks ago, but then there was a hurricane.

I’ve talked about Isaac elsewhere and don’t really want to get into the details here, so let me sum up: it could have been a lot worse but it still kind of sucked. I had a window in my apartment come off its hinges while I wasn’t there and the floorboards close to the window buckled from being exposed to the storm, and the several days my family spent with no power (along with most of New Orleans–actually, I think some people STILL might not have theirs back) in the heat was pretty terrible. But now my power is back, I have started the process of rearranging my front room, and I’m ready to move on with work and school and life.

So, library school! So far it is interesting, challenging, still a little bit scary but overall pretty cool.

My school is in Baton Rouge, but I live and work full time in New Orleans and do not want that to change (I would like the next time I look for a job or consider moving to be when I have my MLIS), so I’m planning to do as much or the program as I can through distance learning. For this semester, that means two online classes, one that has synchronous meetings and one that doesn’t. Basically, that means that for the synchronous one, I’m attending weekly lectures via video chat, and for the asynchronous one, there is no lecture session, just assignments and discussion topics that get posted online each week.

The workload has been an adjustment–I’ve taken non-degree classes at a grad-school level before, but perhaps because they were non-degree or because they were mixed (both grad and undergrad students in the class), they didn’t entirely prepare me for the workload I’d experience in a Master’s program. So far it’s nothing I can’t handle, but it’s the sort of thing in my head, I knew I was going to have to prepare myself for, but knowing that and actually experiencing it are two different things, and I’m still making that “oh, so this is what my life is going to be like for the next few years” adjustment.

There’s also the money aspect, which caused me a lot of anxiety before I was enrolled, but now that I am, it’s kind of like…it’s a thing, it has to be dealt with, so I’ll deal with it. I couldn’t afford to go back to school without taking out loans, and I thought long and hard about if I really wanted to take on more student loan debt. I have relatively little from undergrad (thank you, supportive parents) and have considered myself lucky to be in that situation when so many of my peers aren’t. Now that’s going to change. But, again, I’ve been working up to this for years. I’m confident this is the career I want, and I need an MLIS to do it, so I see the loans as a necessary, acceptable burden to take on.

I’m also working on reducing my existing non-student loan debt (two credit cards and a car loan) as much as I can while I’m still in school, so that by the time my student loans go into repayment, they’ll be the only debt (or at least the bulk of the debt) I have to worry about. So we’ll see how that goes.

Meanwhile, I am, somehow, turning 27 in six days. My past few birthdays have all come with conflicting emotions. On the one hand, I’m happy to be moving further and further into my late 20s. Being older doesn’t automatically make you more mature, but for myself I do feel like the older I get, the better I get at this whole adulthood thing. On the other hand, there’s still a little voice in my head that goes WAIT, THERE’S BEEN SOME KIND OF MISTAKE, I CANNOT POSSIBLY BE TURNING 27 AND STILL HAVE THIS MUCH OF MY LIFE TO FIGURE OUT.

But I’m working on it. I’m figuring it out.

After all, I finally got into grad school.