Monday, February 7, 2011

Feeling a disconnect

I've been feeling a bit disconnected from school lately. Granted, there's been plenty going on in my personal life to keep me more than occupied in my spare time (some good, some not so good at all), but it still feels weird. It's like someone hit the rewind button and I'm back at the start of last quarter with all my frustrations and insecurities about constantly feeling behind.

I've done pretty well so far this quarter keeping up with assignments, despite the massively different structure of this quarter's classes. Lots of smaller assignments with something due every week, a small group for each class, and some overarching projects that are looming larger and larger on my horizon are all filling up my whiteboard calendar pretty effectively. (Sidenote: I am so so glad I bought that thing. I'm not big on paper planners since I tend to forget about them, and I'm not a huge fan of Google Calendar, so having something too big to ignore or forget about nailed to my wall is keeping me on track much better than storing everything in my head.)

The past couple days I've been trying to get back into the swing of things by starting to read the MLIS apps I'm responsible for. I've read through three of them thoroughly so far, and have glanced at quite a few more, and I've got to say it's just as intimidating to do so as I was expecting. I remember going through the application process myself, and how incredibly nerve-wracking it is to condense your entire life into a couple pages, a resume, and a transcript, and send it all off to a committee of people who only have that to use to try and understand you. I poured my heart into my personal statement, and sending it off to the UW (as well as Syracuse and the U of Maryland) and getting acceptance letters from all three in return felt so incredibly validating. And now I'm in a position to give someone else that same opportunity. Lots of someone elses, in fact.

I hope I'm going about this with the right attitude. It's incredibly humbling and a huge honor to even be on this committee - I'm only halfway through my 2nd quarter at the UW while everyone else (including the student reps) have all been there for much longer. I feel like my inexperience can actually be an enormous plus, since all the frustration I'm currently going through with my classes is exactly what all of these future iSchoolers will experience upon entering the program. ESPECIALLY if they're like me and had to abandon their plans of going full-time residential and try to rework their lives into the Online program. I ran across an applicant today that said she'd prefer residential, but would accept online, and I found myself really wanting to advocate that she join the Online cohort. I want to put her in the same place I was put almost a year ago and see how she reacts. And I have the sway to possibly make that happen. Augh.

Sometimes it feels like it's going to take a miracle (or long series of miracles) for me to get through this program. I'm definitely committed to this choice I've made for myself, and I really love my cohort and all the smart, fabulous people and their smart, fabulous ideas I get to read and talk about every day. It's just hard sometimes to maintain the connection I want to have with everyone, and with what we're learning.

Boo-urns. Bonus points if you get the reference.


  1. So here is something I always wondered, Katie. Of all the applicants, do they overwhelming lean for residential, and then the committee makes a stack of those who have even an inkling of those that would accept online? I've often wondered, as I listed myself as either/or right down the middle, and got online. I have to admit, I was initially disappointed (like you) as I had this glorified cut-my-hours be-a-student-again fantasy in my head. But it has all worked out fine (except the not cutting work hours and being constantly overloaded). Anyway, I related to what you wrote... you are not the only one with a disconnect this quarter! - Linda G.

  2. So far, the applicants I've seen have overwhelmingly leaned towards Res Only or Prefer Res. I always cringe a little when I see Res Only, since not only are they limiting their options, they'll get wait-listed if the committee doesn't feel they'd fit well in their top choices list. Same goes for Online Only, although that's a slightly different situation, since a lot of applicants have pretty well-established lives and occupations outside of the city.

    I'm learning a lot, though, about this whole process that makes me feel much better about not going residential. And honestly, after discovering how much more I'm learning from being in the online program (and getting to know all the lovely and super freakin smart folks in my cohort), I'm glad they didn't put me where I thought I wanted to be.

    And glad to hear I'm not alone! I wish I could take better advantage of the iSalon when the disconnects arise, but sometimes I just can't get past the bitch sessions. :/

  3. Yeah, I enjoy the iSalon to a point and check every day... but I swear, sometimes the bitch sessions (esp related to just doing what the teacher asks for assignments) kind of want me to scream, "Buck up, campers! This is GRAD school!" I haven't gotten sterling grades on a few assignments, but when I read the teacher/TA comments, I can't fault them at all. They are usually spot on (even when I wax poetic too long about the plot of Battlestar Galactic rather than talk about information seeking behavior). ;-)

  4. Dammit! Battlestar GalacticA! (I am not worthy of BSG if I can't spell it without a typo... I'm going to the EMP/SFM exhibit finally this Saturday!) :D