Thursday, May 8, 2014

Graduating With Honor

It only just dawned on me that four years ago today, I graduated with my Masters degree in Library & Information Sciences from the University of South Florida.

My graduation photo hangs
on the wall of my library design studio.
Earning that degree was one of the hardest things I've ever done...that is, until I created Stand-Up Librarian.  When you are in school, there is a plan.  Assignments with study guides.  Support from professors and classmates.  Advice from career counselors.  There are also days off and spring break.  Finally, if you study hard and get good grades, you get to put on that cap and gown, walk across a stage, shake a hand and take a photo while hearing your name on the loudspeakers.  Your parents cheer and you go to a nice dinner to celebrate.  Then if you are one of a chosen few, you might even have a library job to go to the following week.   

Graduation day, 2010. Will I get a job?
But when that job doesn't come and you are sitting alone in your room wondering why you studied so hard, you are left with none of that.  Instead your mind is filled with stories of not being good enough, smart enough, nice enough.  That your job application got lost or your email never really went through.  Or maybe someone is talking shit about you from that restaurant job you got fired from ten years ago.  Yeah, and then as if things can't get worse, the one man you ever loved tells you he met someone else.  

You sit there at your computer staring at a blank screen wanting someone to reach out to you, tell you what to do, that things will get better.  Your stomach screams for food but you can't move.  Instead you laugh.  You write.  You create because the person you need, is YOU.

It has taken me four long years and a lot of job applications to finally realize that earning my LIS degree was not necessarily about working at the library but more about using that knowledge combined with my own abilities, experiences and passions to create the job I am most suited for.  After all, it is only when you are authentically yourself that you are best able to serve your community and the people who reside in it.

So the next time you feel lost, alone, defeated, come find me.  If anything, I'll at least write you back :) 

Librarian, May 8, 2010.
Stand-Up Librarian, May 8, 2014.