On the first day of Reference class, Professor Jill Hurst-Wahl shared a list she’d compiled of “Advice and Wisdom for New Graduate Students.” I’m finding it quite helpful. Take a peek and you’ll see that I’ve already highlighted a few of the most useful phrases. One of them is:
“Network, don’t be shy. Volunteer. Be active in any of the out of classroom activities.”
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not shy. Unless I’m feeling particularly introverted, networking, volunteering, and being active in extra-curricular activities are my idea of fun. And there’s so much to get involved with. I’ve been attending weekly meetings of the Library and Information Science Student Assembly (LISSA), the iSchool’s chapter of the American Library Association (ALA). As a result of those meetings, I’ve already signed up for the following activities:
- Helping to staff the LISSA table at the iSchool Student Groups Fair.
- Applying to the ALA Student-to-Staff program.
- Offering a talk on children’s programming as part of the FitS student lecture series.
- Organizing a carpool to the New York Library Association conference in October.
- Attending the Library Leadership and Management Association Online Coffee Break for New Professionals.
Based on opportunities I’ve heard about elsewhere, I’d also really enjoy:
- Coordinating instructional learning sessions for LISSA members.
- Blogging for the iSchool’s Information Space. (I submitted a form indicating I was interested, but no one has replied. This bodes ill for my blogging career.)
- Writing articles for www.inalj.com.
- Singing with a university choral ensemble.
- Working part-time at the Fayetteville Free Library.
- Attending events hosted by the Central New York Library Resources Council (CLRC).
- Reading the optional/enrichment articles mentioned in my classes.
- Socializing with my fellow LIS students.
Oh, and I’m currently taking three classes and working 20 hours a week. I also have a husband I enjoy spending time with, a niece and nephews who live close enough to visit, and friends in Hamilton whom I miss. Do you see the problem? In the absence of a TARDIS or a time-turner, I cannot possibly do all the mega-interesting things I’m convinced I simply must do.
Which brings me to the second crucial piece of Advice and Wisdom from the Reference class handout:
Don’t over-extend yourself.
I wondered (aloud, in class) how to reconcile those two contradictory bits of wisdom: get involved but don’t over-extend yourself. In response, I received the wisest tip yet, not from the handout, but from my professor:
You don’t have to do everything. It’s OK to say no to some things.
Simple advice, but will I listen? After a series of deep breaths and the donning of my thinking cap, I’ve crossed some non-essential items off the second list. (I’ll leave you to discover which ones.) We’ll see if I can become a more balanced person who commits just enough but not too much. Please wish me luck!
What about you? Do you over-extend? Wish you volunteered more? How would you prioritize my lists if you were me? I’d love to hear from librarians and non-librarians alike.