The first quarter of the semester is now over.
Wait, correction. The first quarter OF MY LAST SEMESTER OF GRAD SCHOOL is now over.
I am busier than belief. I mean, I thought last semester took the cake, but this semester, every week goes a little like this:
Sunday – Monday – Tuesday – Wednesday – Thursday “OH MY GOD IT’S ALREADY THURSDAY? WHERE DID MONDAY-WEDNESDAY GO? – Friday “OH CRAP IT’S THE WEEKEND!” – Saturday “Why am I so tired?”
But despite all that nonsense, I am actually feeling really good about what’s going on in my life.
I do recognize that this could be my Last-Semester-of-School Nostalgia kicking in. There’s a likely chance that in May, I will lose EVERY daily activity that I have, including jobs I have had for years. Jobs that I have whined about for years, but suddenly am feeling quite affectionate toward.
Library Class #1: Information Sources for Children
In this class, we talk about nonfiction books for kids. We sit in a circle. We bring books to class and share them. We learn about access feature, discuss whether or not Arlene Sardine is fiction or non-fiction, make Helen Keller jokes (maybe that’s just me…) One of my favorite Boston friends is in class with me. My professor makes us laugh. It’s just a fairly jolly time.
Please consult me after I get my first paper back and see if I’m still feeling so giddy. But hell, it’s my last semester. Do I really care? No. No I do not.
Library Class #2: Young Adult Literature
YA Lit for the librarians. This is my first online class, and I have to say, I am digging it. It was a rough adjustment, though. The reading list? Full of books I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. The assignments? Let’s just talk about what hypothetical teens might hypothetically want to read and why they might hypothetically want to read them.
However, I like the online class format. There’s always something to do – listen to my class podcast on my way to work, make a post on our class wiki or read everyone else’s posts, chat with classmates on Twitter, make a board for new YA books on Pinterest. I And I love love LOVE my professor. She is a rock star. I am in awe. I am excited for our second group chat on Thursday!
Is actually hard work. Opening boxes. Shelving books. Entering an interminable amount of ISBN numbers into a database.
However, this joint is such a small operation, I feel like I am actually ESSENTIAL to keeping things running. That’s nice. I am fairly involved in a lot of projects, I feel like I am getting to know a large portion of the staff… basically, I don’t feel like I am just standing around the edges watching everyone, I am in the thick of it.
And then, when I’ve had a few weeks of just straight drudgery, I come into the office and someone says “Hey, Jessica, here’s a table full of brand new books. We really want you to read some of them and give us your opinions. Just grab one and go lounge on the futon all day and go at it. Oh, and Betty Carter sent chocolates – make sure you eat some of Betty Carter’s chocolates!”
For that afternoon, it seems as if all of my dreams have come true.
We are going in reverse chronological order here. At Job #3, I do one-on-one writing tutoring. I just started last semester, and I was all nerves and self-doubt. I’m still fairly full of self-doubt, but I feel like I’m coming into my own as a writing tutor. Sure, I may be the world’s WORST writing tutor – I have little concept of what kind of pedagogy excelling at this job really requires – but I feel more comfortable this semester, and I think I do a better job. I think I’m kind of a “Jokey Advice Giving” kind of tutor. I like to sit back and chat about the topic at hand, the process, the next steps.
It’s fun! I like being surprised by every student and every paper. It kind of makes me feel bad that I get paid.
Job #2 is where I sit at the Reference Desk. This job is predictable in all the ways that library jobs are predictable – the teachers assign the same assignments, the stairwell is always hard to find, the articles will always be difficult to find. But lately, I’ve really felt like more of the Reference team than a grad student subordinate. Our staff is stepping up their game to some cool new services and such, and I feel like my feedback is valued. I am also working one-on-one with a librarian to do some little research projects, which is fun and I can do them while listening to Broadway musicals and drinking strong coffee. Word.
Oh, Job #1. Job #1. I have been at Job #1 since I arrived in Boston, and I have taken on more and more responsibility, completed thousands of projects, met millions of staff people, talked with bazillions of students. I’ve had a different schedule every semester, two different bosses, and not a single raise.
But I like it. I do. I like my autonomy, my shiny new computer, my workload, my boss, my students (my students!).
Maybe I even love it. Maybe.
If I got a raise, I would probably love it.
Sunday – Monday – Tuesday – Wednesday – Thursday “OH MY GOD IT’S ALREADY THURSDAY? WHERE DID MONDAY-WEDNESDAY GO? – Friday “OH CRAP IT’S THE WEEKEND!” – Saturday “Why am I so tired?
This could certainly be improved upon, but it’s just a semester. A semester that is a quarter over. I’m hoping to squeeze in some more Boston-y things, since I’m not sure if I will be here much longer than the next 6 months, and some more time with friends, since I’m not sure we will be together much longer than the next 6 months.
But a lot of the time, I catch myself thinking
“Hey. Great school/jobs/friends/life. You got it good.”