1

However…

Posted by lynn on Jan 3, 2007 in News

On a slightly different note from the last post….

I want to assure you that I’m not sitting by and not seeking jobs because I’m daunted. Oh no, not me. I do actually have a job interview tomorrow and I’m going to ALA Midwinter in Seattle to visit the Career Services folks in two weeks. It will also be my first, official LIS conference-type-thingie. I hope to feel better about my prospects soon….

 
1

A very queasy New Year

Posted by lynn on Jan 3, 2007 in Random

Happy New Year, everyone.

It’s hard to believe, but I’m swiftly approaching the beginning of my very last semester at GSLIS. It feels like I just started the program yesterday, and I remember bemoaning the fact that 2 years seemed so long. Boy, was I wrong.

I’m happy to report that I survived IML and DIL and got As in both. I really didn’t expect the A in IML – I was thinking I’d get an A- – but I’m not going to complain.

I am looking forward to my next two classes, Metadata (590MDL) and Design of Digitally Mediated Information Services (590DEL). They appear to be nice “capstones” for my time here at GSLIS. That being said, I am so, so tired.

My dad asked me if I was going to pursue my PhD after getting my degree, and I said, “Um, no.” First of all, I’m more of a “practice” person than “research.” My favorite classes and assignments where when I actually got to do what we were talking about instead of just talk about it. I really don’t see myself doing research at this time. Secondly, I’m really tired of school. I love school, but I need the break. I think this disappointed my dad, who has always hinted that he envisioned me as some high-ranking professor at some prestigious university (ideally in the sciences, but Library Science sorta counts, right?), but he understood.

The challenge facing me now, in addition to surviving one more semester, is figuring out what the heck I want to do. I started off this program with the idea of working at a university. Well, two years and lots of upheaval at work later, I’m not so sure. I’ve spent my entire post-college working life at a university. I’m not so sure it’s what I want to keep doing. Like my dad, I think I had this very shiny vision of what academic life was supposed to be, but now, 10 years later, I realize that academia is just as fraught with politics, competition, and, yes, focus on the bottom line as anywhere else. There’s a definite class system in academia – or at least at my university and a few others I know of – that’s hard to escape. I’ve seen how librarians here, who have faculty status, are still treated somewhat like second-class citizens. Since I’m a staff person, I’m already a full-fledged second-class citizen, so I’m not sure if I want the “upgrade.”

Then there’s the issue of what I can do. I took a lot of classes around the idea of working in a digital library, but the entry-level jobs in that area are scarce. I suppose I could get a job as a reference librarian, but I was never interested in doing that – I’m still not interested today. When I look at the “non-traditional” LIS jobs that entail data/information modeling, information architecture, etc., there are a lot of skills I don’t have: SQL, JSP, perl, etc. So I’m feeling a little daunted there as well.

Anyway, as it’s time to begin the job search, I have a lot to consider. I didn’t anticipate ending the program feeling more unsure about where my future lay than when I started.
I do know that I want to leave where I am now. I’m never going to move beyond what I’m doing now where I currently am, and the job is no longer challenging or fun. I do want to put my new degree and knowledge to work. The rest is more open than I’d like.

 
3

Almost done…

Posted by lynn on Dec 11, 2006 in News

Whew!

I am almost nearly entirely done with semester five. I can’t believe that a year ago I was only wrapping up my first full semester of school (bootcamp doesn’t really count). Man, time flies when you don’t really have a social life.

I turned in the last IML assignment yesterday. I have very mixed feelings about it. I think I did fine on writing the XML document. I’ve done that before and it validated every time I tested it. My problem, as usual, was the short answer questions. My dilemma was again between depth and brevity, with my natural inclination towards brevity and my professor’s desire for lots of depth AND brevity. This assignment was particularly hard because I get all the concepts in this unit – document modeling – but I don’t get them– you know what I’m sayin’? I totally understand the general concepts and benefits and such of descriptive markup, OHCO and the like, but when the prof starts really getting into the nitty-gritty of it, I get lost. Like with his current research – I’m like, “Okay, I guess I get what you’re doing.” So anyway, I feel like I fudged the answers a bit, even after re-reading all the articles, slides and stuff.

As for DIL, I’m pretty pleased with how my final project turned out. Behold: Befuddled by Beer.

There were several lessons learned about workflow and communication on this project and one little technical glitch that I couldn’t get resolved, but still, I’m pleased that we finished it. Since I was the “tech person,” I’m particularly proud of building this thing and making nearly all the interface decisions. I want to thank Phil for all his help – he wrote a classifier script for me and helped me when I got too exasperated or lost to dig myself out of a problem.

I also want to thank my group mates, Alisun, Erin and Kristin for their work. I guess you could say that they got the easier end of the deal – making the content and metadata – but they did a great job and were really supportive. These ladies also drank A LOT of beer for this project. That’s dedication to the profession for you: sacrificing livers for a good grade.

Lastly, I’m happy to report that I’m walking sorta. I use a cane to get up and down stairs and to just help balance me a bit, but no more brace or crutches. I can also sit in a chair like a normal person. Hopefully by the time I head back to Texas for the holidays, I’ll be moving entirely sans cane and will be able to negotiate escalators without hurting myself. I really don’t want to be pushed around the airport in a wheelchair.

Anyway, here’s to 5 semesters down, 1 left to go.

 
1

A response for Mark….

Posted by lynn on Nov 30, 2006 in Random

Mark, I’ll see your blog post. I’m not going to raise because I don’t even know how I would do that.

I am back at work. I’m not thrilled about that, but that’s more because my workplace is in major flux right now. The knee is fine. Well, let me clarify fine: it’s getting better. I still have crutches. I still have a brace that keeps my leg from bending. I still get ow-y sometimes. Yet it’s getting better (it actually looks like a knee now) and I get myself around. I’m kinda tired of dealing with it though, and I bet those around me are too.

I did have a good break, but it was definitely busier than I had anticipated. My roomie and I cooked a full Thanksgiving dinner. It turned out fabulously, but man, that was some work (more for her though than for me). I also did some homework, of course. Can’t have a weekend without that. The funny thing is that I can’t remember a lot of what we did beyond that – must not have been that important, I guess. But I was busy. I wanted to make some chocolate stuffed figs on Wednesday, but I didn’t get them done until Saturday. I also never did get to sit down and watch all 8 episodes of Doctor Who that are sitting on my Tivo.

Consider Spellbound added to the list of movies I want to see once the semester ends, although you did tell me that Snakes on a Plane wasn’t scary. I spent a good chunk of that movie with my head buried in my boyfriend’s shoulder. I can’t imagine 5th graders and spelling bees being scary though. Wait, yes I can. Oh, I’ll keep the movie on the list anyway.

I’m so glad your tooth is doing better. Hooray for modern medicine!

 
0

The last lap….

Posted by lynn on Nov 19, 2006 in Random

When we would do the 1 mile run around the track in junior high and high school, the first few laps around the track weren’t that hard. Eventually, because I was never a very physically fit kid, each lap would get harder and harder until the last one. That last lap always seemed to take forever and was impossibly hard. I usually did that goofy walk/run/walk/walk/run thing, sweating like a pig and panting. Most of the other girls had already finished and gone to the locker room, and it was me and the three other “fat kids” bringing up the rear. Man, I hated PE.

So that’s what the end of every semester is like for me (except I like library science, unlike PE). The last three weeks seem insurmountable somehow and I’m already so tired. I keep running through my mind, “I have two more IML assignments to do and finish my digital library in the next 3 weeks!!!” and I keep overwhelming myself. I do this every semester, so I know in my heart that I’ll come through okay somehow, but it still manages to stress me out.

Here’s how I’m feeling about both classes right now:

IML: I really like the hands-on practical aspects of this class. Doing truth trees for first order logic sentences? Fun. Drawing out ER diagrams? Groovy. Explaining “relationship set” or “data independence” – bleck. One thing I’ve figured out quickly in this program is that I’m more of a “practice” person and not a “research” person. I get the ideas and theories behind something, but I’d rather actually be doing that something, not explaining it. I guess that’s why I keep getting A-‘s on my assignments for this class. He keeps asking me to go into more detail on my explanations, and I can’t. Maybe it’s a mental block or I’m just not as philosophical as he is. Or maybe it’s because I don’t like math.

DIL: Again, I like working on my DL project. As frustrating as Greenstone is, it’s rewarding to work on something and have something tangible to show for it. I’m in the unique position where everyone in my group is so eager to get stuff done and done correctly, we’re having arguments about who does what because some people want to do everything. I’m so used to the opposite or having one or two members who drop off the planet until the last week. It’s kinda cool yet still kinda frustrating. I just hope we can get it together to bring the project to a successful end and that I can figure out how to separate two different “resource types” into two separate browse lists in Greenstone.

The readings for DIL put me to sleep though. Most of it is repetitive with what I’ve read in my Electronic Publishing class or Organization of Information class or even my Web Design class. I also hate that we have to do weekly bulletin board posts with insightful comments about the readings or something similar. Since I’ve already done a lot of these readings, I’ve used up my insightful comments on previous classes. I know that I should be able to come up with more, but again, I’ve reached that walk/run/walk/walk/run point in the semester. The brain is tired.

What complicates all of this is that I’m still recovering from my knee surgery. I am happy to report though that while I’m still not able to bend my leg or walk very far without crutches, my knee no longer resembles an oddly-colored cube in the middle of my leg. It looks more like a giant, flesh-colored sphere. With luck and hard work, hopefully it will actually look like a knee by Christmas.

I shall now wrap up this long whining session with a little spirit-lifting thought for myself. As crappy of a runner I was in junior high and high school, I could probably run a mile fairly easily now (okay, prior to the knee surgery). Hopefully the same applies for when I graduate from school and start getting to work on this stuff for real.

 
1

Catching up…

Posted by lynn on Nov 1, 2006 in News

So I thought I would easily catch right up with the school work after my surgery. WRONG. Long story short: doctor found more than he thought he would during surgery, so instead of two week recovery time, Lynn gets a four week recovery period complete with painkillers and weird rehabilitation devices. Thus despite having a week to do my IML assignment, I had to ask for an extension. I just couldn’t do it with all the meds I was on. Fortunately, I did get it in – only one day late.

Now I’m in catch-up mode. Let’s hope for no more set backs.

I also want to just say publicly that my Mom is awesome for coming out from Louisiana to help me, and my boyfriend, Phil, has just been spectacular all around

 
0

Yo.

Posted by lynn on Oct 20, 2006 in News

So I know I haven’t posted in a while. During the on-campus session I stayed at the Historic Lincoln Hotel, which is very, very awesome, but very, very without the in-room internet access. Not very blog-friendly, really. I enjoyed my trip because it’s always so nice to see all my school buddies and experience life outside of LA for a while. I also enjoy it because I eat horribly – utterly terribly – during my visit. Seriously, it’s like I go, “Um, could you put some cheese and gravy on that?” whenever and wherever I eat while in C-U.

I also liked my classes. We installed Apache and Greenstone on the school Linux servers for my DIL class (wheee!) and Information Modeling was, well, Information Modeling – but that was fun too. I always learn so much in each IML class that my brain hurts just a bit when the session is over. Oh! I also learned that New Balance sneakers are apparently the sneaker of choice for UIUC. I swear, everyone had them.

Alas, post-visit, I have fallen behind a bit. The burnout and crazy stuff going on at my workplace has caused me to slip. I’m turning all my assignments in on time, but I’m having to skip a lot of the readings in order to get other stuff done. Here’s the (sorta) good news: I’m having knee surgery on Monday! I get to stay home for two weeks! I’ve got tons of time to do school work! I really, really hope to start catching up next week. First order of business will be knocking my second IML assignment out of the way and then I’ll move on to the reading. Wish me luck.

 
1

The freak out has begun…

Posted by lynn on Sep 19, 2006 in News

So the freak out has hit. I had a mild panic attack/realization last Thursday that I had A LOT of homework d due in the next week and I have spent the last few days busting my chops to catch up. I’m feeling a little better now, but I think I’ll feel much better when I finish my digital libraries paper that’s due a week from Thursday and get through my first Information Modeling assignment (whenever that gets assigned).

That being said, I’m happy to announce that I’m now the webbmistress for the ACRL student group – mostly because I already redid their site as part of my Web Design class project. Still, I’m excited about this. Hopefully I won’t screw it up.

As for my classes in general, I still really like Information Modeling although the homework is getting harder and more and more like algebra everyday. My mind bends a bit everytime I work on some of it and I often go to bed with a headache. Digital libraries is okay. A lot of what we’re going over is repetitive with what I learned in Electronic Publishing a year ago, so I’m eagerly anticipating getting on to newer stuff. I’m also sweating a little under the workload for this class. Not that it’s extreme, but just hard to manage with the Information Modeling work and the chaos that is my job.

Anyway, that’s the update for now. I’m going to bo back to freaking out now.

 
1

5th semester

Posted by lynn on Sep 8, 2006 in Random

Hi all.

I’m actually not freaking out about this semester for some reason, even though both classes appear to be doozies. I’m taking Information Modeling which is way more fun than it sounds. It’s like doing logic puzzles for homework. I’m also taking Digital Libraries, which is a lot of work, but I’m being calm so far. I managed to get Greenstone installed without too many tears (thanks, Phil), and I’m moving around the interface pretty easily. We’ll see how long my comfort lasts.

Anyway I suspect my “I’ll live” attitude comes from two places:

a) 4 previous semesters of coping
b) being so overworked at my job that I don’t have time to care

Seriously, work kinda blows right now, so when I get home I really don’t want to stress more. Nice thing is that I finally got wireless hooked up in my apartment so I can do homework in bed.

Anyway, more updates will come, I’m sure. I leave for Champaign in less than 3 weeks.

 
2

If only they made bumper stickers, or had an honor roll, for that matter.

Posted by lynn on Aug 3, 2006 in News

Two perfect scores. I did not miss a single point in either class for this semester. Yay me.

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