Putting the “Grad” in Grad School
In early 2009, I decided that I was going to get a master’s degree in library science. This decision happened as a result of my late-college panic over what I was going to do with a BA in linguistics and sociology. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t think I could get a job with that degree; it was more that I didn’t know what kind of a job to shoot for, because I didn’t know what I wanted to be doing in a month, let alone in a year or two. I think my train of thought was something like “I like libraries, so…why the hell not?”
As it turns out, “why the hell not” is not always a valid reason to enter a graduate program.
At the time, I was working as a resident assistant (RA) and I loved it more than anything else I’d gotten involved in throughout college. I was re-hired for the 2009-10 academic year, which was my first year of grad school. This is quite possibly the only reason I don’t regret going to grad school, because that extra year as an RA was exactly what I needed to realize that the graduate program I really want to get into is in student affairs administration. Of course, coming to that realization about half a semester into an MLS program was a little disheartening, to say the least.
That second year as an RA was difficult. Instead of the awesome first- and second-year residents I had my first year, I was placed on a floor of mostly upperclasswomen and other grad students. They were a good group of people, but as older students their involvement in the floor community was pretty sparse. In addition to frustration with my own floor, I received a lot of sexual harassment from a few men on the other floors of my building. The stress of it all led to what I now recognize as a major depressive episode–my 3rd, and probably my worst. Unfortunately, my supervisor and I never figured out how to communicate with each other well. I think she thought I was slacking as an RA and screwing up a lot more than I actually did, and I was frustrated by her obvious favoritism of other RAs and what I saw as a lack of acceptance of my psychological/neurological issues.
In any case, it was a frustrating year, my grades tanked, the depression got worse, the following year was also frustrating and depressing, and I didn’t graduate when I was supposed to. I should have graduated in May 2011, but my therapist was like “um, no. I’m going to request Incompletes for you, and you’re going to graduate when you’re healthier.” I was (am) barely short of graduation; all I need to do is revise a project and write a paper, so I figured I’d do the work over the summer and just graduate in August.
That also didn’t happen.
I was then slated for December graduation. Welp, December commencement happened last weekend, and guess who still doesn’t have a master’s degree. On the plus side, I am doing a lot better psychologically now, and I’m settled into my new-ish job, and I just got a shiny new laptop for my birthday, so it’s as good a time as any to actually do this shit.
My goal is to finish by the end of winter break, although I will also accept “by the end of January.” Realistically, I should be done with my project revision by the end of break, and then I’ll spend January writing my 20-page paper for my Seminar in Intellectual Freedom course. At this point, it isn’t so much that I want a MLS, but I’m so damn close that I just want to get it done. It’s like going shopping on payday and finding something you once really wanted on sale for 99% off. Of course you’re going to fucking buy it.
And then in a couple years I’ll plan to start the degree I really want, a master’s degree in student affairs. I’m looking at Indiana State, Western Michigan, and Kent State for now.