A ton of stuff has happened in the last month! I passed comps (yay!) and graduated (double yay!) and got hired on at my library as a medical librarian (all the yays!). My start date for the latter is October 1st, and I am tickled to death about it. I've already started taking on more responsibilities at work, including teaching a class to some of my coworkers on a variety of health resource topics, and assisting with a literature search on acute kidney injury. I'm also learning a bit more about SQL and genetics resources. It's a bit of a hodgepodge, but it's all very interesting. Work is so much more enjoyable now that I'm learning new things.
Now that school is over I have a lot more time on my hands. I still haven't adjusted to the idea that I don't have articles to read all the time, papers and projects to work on, or classes to attend. I am tempted to start a thousand new projects, because I'm not good at sitting still, but I think I should take a while and think things over before I embark on a new venture. What should I do next? I'm thinking of beefing up my coding skills, getting back into knitting, and writing more.
I have been AWOL for a while because I've gotten busy--my end-of-degree comprehensive exam is going to be on Friday. I've been stuffing my head full of information science theories, people, and models. Everything will be fine, I know, but it's still stressful.
After the exam is over on Friday, though...I can't wait! I have some books to read, friends to hang out with, and movies to watch. I still have a few weeks left in my databases class, but they won't be too bad. I just have to learn some baby SQL and I'll be good to go.
I can't believe that I'm so close to finishing. I feel like I've been plugging away at this degree forever. Even though Forbes says that a masters in library and information science is the very worst masters degree you can get, I still feel pretty confident in my choice. The lack of job growth across the board is worrying, of course, but I know that the skills you learn in library school can be applied in many different kinds of work outside the traditional library--for example, in usability, information architecture, or records management. I'm sure I can find something I'll be happy doing.
Two days ago, I delivered a presentation about my practicum experience to a group of colleagues at my library. Although not many of them were familiar with DiscoverLibrary, they were all very supportive and were an excellent audience. The more I present this material, the less nervous I get. It helps that I am familiar with the material and with basic questions about usability, the testing process, and the guide I created--it gave me a sense of confidence to be able to answer the questions that I got at the end of my presentation without straining to think of an answer.
I would recommend doing a practicum to any MLS/MSIS student. Although I've gotten a lot of out my classwork at UTK, I learned a ton about project management, becoming a subject expert (or at least not a total noob), interviewing and testing users, and presentation skills. I didn't realize when I started that even though I might put in a ton of effort on a project, it wouldn't matter unless I could communicate my findings to the people who could implement changes. That's a good thing to learn, and I'm glad I got to figure it out during a practicum instead of on the job.