Blog Post

My Practicum (My Life) Experience - Overview/Intro

My Practicum (My Life) Experience - Overview/Intro

For my Masters of Library Science from Kent State I am required to complete a culminating experience project of a thesis paper or a practicum. There are several reasons I chose to do the practicum:

1. I have a some experience working and volunteering in libraries, but it is one of my weaker points when it comes to applying for jobs.

2. Having a done a year-long research thesis for undergrad, I know that I would have been comfortable doing the thesis and decided the practicum would be more of a challenge.

3. It was made clear to me by multiple Kent State faculty members that the practicum is the perfered option for working librarians, and would be a better networking opportunity for me. 

Living in Newark, Ohio limits the number of libraries available to me. I have driven to Columbus (about an hour drive) for a couple of my classes, but knew that drving to Columbus more regularly for the practicum was not a good financial or time management option for me. Since I was leaning towards academic librarianship for my career, I reached out to Denison University (Granville, OH) to volunteer my services. I was connected with Josh Finnell, Humanities Librarian because my undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies focused on English and Women's Studies. Until Josh suggested working on a project for Women's Studies for my practicum, I hadn't given much thought to my undergraduate degree in years. Although I suppose it is somthing I use every day (I always say that the most important thing I learned in college was how to learn). I was excited to know that all those years of talking about gender and power were about to come in handy. 

The project consisted of archival scanning and creating metadata for Women's Studies department materials. Also, I would be using Prezi (or whatever presentation software I wanted) to create a digital narrative of the history of the Women's Studies department at Denison. This sounded important, interesting, and more importantly, doable. I would be able to do some of the work after hours and on weekends, and some from home. It was perfect. I'd been worrying about how I was going to balance working 40+ hours a week and a 150-hour practicum while taking a second class. (I swear I'm not crazy - I have to work to live, I have to take six credit hours a semester to use all of a scholarship that I received, and I want to graduate this summer so I can get the heck out of here!)

I remember being ecstatic the first time I met with Josh. Here was someone who was willing to working with me and give me the time and space I needed to finally learn something hands on. My classes for my MLIS have been interesting but, being primarily online, mostly hypothetical. I've felt like I was alone a lot and often remark to friends that graduate school is much harder than undergrad and much lonelier. At least if we were going through hell in undergrad, we were doing it together. Going to Denison so many times per week, even though I am working on my project mostly in my off-work hours, has made me feel more connected to the academic world and gives me a sense of validation in what I'm doing. No one in my family or at the bank where I work has done anything like this and it means they don't really "get" my project, my degree, how much pressure I'm under, or why I want to do this. But then I've never been married or had a child, so I guess I don't really "get" them either. 

(Here's a photo of the library.)

The project has been very tedious at times and facinating at others. It's probably taken me a lot longer than it should have because I keep getting lost in the materials, in the stories of the women (and some men) who made the Women's Studies department at Denison a reality. More on them later. Thanks for listening!




No comments