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The Fall 2015 semester is over, and it was my second, and also most interesting semester in the program due to a couple of factors: 1) I took 4 classes, which is 1 more than the recommended full-time load of 3, and 2) I learned a lot of practical and professional lessons this semester.
I enrolled in 4 courses since I calculated I could graduate one semester earlier if I toughed it out and did 4 classes this fall. I'm happy to say I somehow managed to keep my streak up, and still have a 4.0 G.P.A., which I honestly did not think was going to happen at many points during this stressful semester. For as much work as it was, I thrive in situations of high-pressure, so I knew in my heart I would miss it, even as I sometimes cursed it. lol! I gained 8 lbs., so it was lucky I had dropped to an all-time, adult-low weight over the summer, so it's not a big deal that I gained some weight back ... I do plan to lose it again. I believe my physical health goes hand-in-hand with my mental health, and having taken care of people with disabilities and chronic illness in my personal life, I intend to do my best to stay healthy for as long as possible. Despite all the assignments and work, I also tried to maintain some exercise in the form of weight training and cardio, regularly. I had to cut the length and frequency of my workouts to focus on assignments, and the rainy weather prevented me from walking the ~2 miles to school and back home. Once Halloween hit, my grad school diet became loaded with junk food, holiday food, class parties, work parties, and family parties. I am not complaining, however, I kinda just ate everything some days. lol! Stress eating, or eating to stay awake some nights. Being a student again after being a professional is a lot easier, but more time-consuming in many ways. I'm loving the LIS program. The course content is so interesting, and it ties in nicely with my former career in IT as a system administrator. I feel that my professional experience has often helped me with coursework in grad school, and definitely helped in all my courses this semester, especially 601, and 610.
Here are some highlights from each course this semester:
LIS 601 - Introduction to Reference and Information Services, was by far the most intense due to workload, but the assignments were extremely valuable, and I learned a lot through doing them. I especially loved working on my midterm, which was a LibGuide: Cancer Resources for the Recently Diagnosed, which featured the catalog of the HSPLS, online resources, and a target audience of Oahu residents recently diagnosed, and their families. I plan to try and keep updating links for as long as the project is available online, because ... in the event someone needed this, I would want it to be a viable resource. The Question Sets, where we tackled various types of patron requests, the field report, where we observed an actual librarian and interviewed them to learn more about the environment and job of a librarian, and the final project -- a bibliography plan, where I researched the topic of the Homeless in Hawaii, were all projects I thoroughly enjoyed.
LIS 620 - Conservation of Library and Archival Materials: I love Debbie. She has been my instructor for two semesters now, and her classes are just a pleasure to attend and be a part of. She created an amazing atmosphere of learning and sharing, and I benefitted from it by practicing skills to repair paper and books, and we were taught about proper storage and handling of library and archival mediums. I also performed research with my partner, Kelsey where we learned about herbaria, assessments of the interior of a library, books, and the all-important situation of disaster preparedness training. The final project, where we created a binder at the end which we would use in our future careers as a reference, was something I know I will keep and refer back to (and continue adding information to) throughout my career. I am going to miss her a lot this upcoming semester. It was so much fun working in the preservation lab... I may go through withdrawals!
LIS 652 - Introduction to Archival Management: Dainan Skeem was an excellent instructor, and also was the acting department head of the UHM Archives. I felt his real-world approach to instruction was amazingly valuable. I feel confident now at work processing the Kiste Papers over the break, due to what we've learned from this course. We created a physical finding aid, and at work, I should be able to create one in ArchivesSpace, which I'm looking forward to. We processed the Save Sandy Beach Ka Iwi Coastline Initiative as a class, which was a great experience. We also had a great trip to Shangri La, and he required us to do a research exercise in the Hawaii State Archives, which was also awesome! I'm happy he's found a new job, but will miss him being around at UHM.
LIS 610 - Foundations of the Information Professions: This website is one of the products of LIS 610. I had a crude version starting-out, but Professor Asato's assignment made me look more critically at it, and I used a lot of her feedback to keep working at it. We also learned a lot about professional ethics, and I helped with an analysis of the Public-Use policy of Hamilton Library's Computers, as part of a final, group project for the course. It is always important to think about professional ethics. We had to do it in IT, and I am happy we do it in LIS. All these experiences were helpful, and I liked learning about the history of libraries as well, and thinking about how libraries have pioneered and can continue to do so, today.
Dropping Mad Library Science!
Here is where I write about everything library and archives related going on.