Sorry it's been a while, but I've been swamped with reading so far this semester. I love reading, and usually breeze right through it, but let me tell you, grad school reading is decidedly different! It's one thing to read a story, but absorbing what a textbook has to say over 30 or 40 pages is pretty intensive. Especially since I'm going to school online and I don't have the benefit of going to class and seeing what the teacher places an emphasis on, I just have to assume it's all important and then try and learn it all.
One of the ways I'm graded is based on discussions board participation. My professors create threads on the class website that involve the week's reading and pose different questions and give us a chance to interact with one another and highlight different passages we found interesting or debate points in the book. This sounds easy, but it is definitely not.
First, I've been indoctrinated into the 140 characters or less cult that is Twitter. Which I love, but still, it has caused me to subconsciously shorten things down as concisely as possible. In some ways this is good, but we can't just 'favorite,' 'retweet,' or 'like' a status/tweet to show that we saw it and agree. But seriously, how much would we learn if that was how we responded to everything? Plus, it would do little to further any academic debate. Instead, we have to develop well thought out responses and back up our reasoning.
Second, my classmates are super smart. I was totally prepared to post last week in the boards and I decided I'd sleep on it and spell check the post in the morning before submitting it to the group. When I woke up though there were these long, formal replies and my response was:
However, once I calmed down I realized this was just an opportunity for me to step up my academic game. So this week I got my reading done extra early, typed my notes up and this time around I was much better prepared to respond in the discussion groups. Plus, participating in the discussion group is making it easier for me develop what I want to say in an essay for one of my classes.
So here I am, trucking along, the not so little library grad that could, thinking that I'm starting to get the hang of grad school when I fail my first quiz. Yeah, failed. And to make matters worse, I did all of the class work and studied. If I hadn't prepared I would know that I only had myself to blame. But when you do everything assigned and make your best effort and it doesn't work out? It's kind of heartbreaking.
So I took a day off from cracking the books, saw a movie, had some ice cream and then headed back into my academic cave yesterday, prepared to do better next time. Fast forward to this morning, and there was a class wide announcement regarding the quiz. It turns out that some of the questions didn't apply to our specific reading or were considered too broad, so the professor threw those questions out! So I hurried to check my new grade and saw that it had changed from a 60% to actually having an 89%!
*cue thirty second dance party*
In closing, I have this to say: for those considering getting their Master in Library and Information Science, you should be prepared to focus and work hard. Grad school is no where near as laid back as college. You know what the difference is though? In college you have to take required classes that don't even pertain to your major and get through them so you can earn your degree. In grad school ALL of the classes pertain, and ALL of them are interesting. Or they are to me at least. Yes, it is a struggle to stay on top of the material and sometimes I get intimidated by either the technology or my brilliant classmates, but in the end I'm better because of it and I get to learn the most interesting things about libraries and information science.
OK. Enough with the PSA for how awesome library school is. I promise I won't write such long posts every week about grad school. On the book review front, I'm about a 100 pages from finishing School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins and then I'm going to read Omens by Kelley Armstrong. I'll try and have those reviews ready to post for the spooky month of October.
Now though? I need to tackle an essay!
Let's do this!