I have spent the past few years in anticipation, leading up to one day, yesterday; the official start to my masters program.
I moved east to west thinking I would be out here six months to a year on an academic holiday, and then move back to New England to continue my studies. I did not factor in falling in love with Portland and the Pacific Northwest. After deciding to stay, I spent the next two years researching a masters program that would be a nice fit for me, perfecting my application, waiting on application dates and deadlines, and fretting over financial aid. It has been a lot of mental energy spent waiting for something to finally start, and that day finally came.
It was a long day, a bit overwhelming, but I left feeling even more motivated and excited than I expected.
There are forty other members in my cohort, with a wide diversity of life experiences. Folks who have already started careers and families who just need this degree to get to the next step, folks looking to enter into a new profession and folks (like me) who want to get a profession started. Being a distance learning program, members of the cohort are traveling from all over the Pacific Northwest – Oregon, Washington, Idaho and even Utah.
I have to admit that at first I was nervous about the distance learning aspect to this program, having always relished the face-to-face discussions that take place in traditional classrooms. After yesterday, there is still some apprehension that will remain as I adjust to new learning methods, but I feel that the online structure of the program will set me up perfectly for the future of the information management industry. More and more information is communicated digitally, and earning my masters, I will be in the position to handle the increased changes this industry is going through….
So the fun part begins: the work.
But like I said, I left yesterday feeling excited and motivated. Unlike my undergraduate degree, where I enjoyed my studies but felt little direction as to where they would take me, I now feel a sense of urgency to the work that I am doing. The industry is changing, (take for example the role of the reference librarian. With the advent of wikis and the increased sophistication of online search engines, the frequency of reference requests might be diminishing, but the requests they do receive tend to be more complicated) and I want to be a steward of those changes, ensuring that the industry remains accessible, digestible and democratic…
Alright, before I get any more philosophical, I think it’s time for me to step off my soapbox, sign off and get back to studying…