The last trip here…

Posted by lynn on Mar 2, 2007 in News |

Greetings from Urbana, Illinois, y’all.

I’m sitting here, in the really fabulous lobby of the Historic Lincoln Hotel, enjoying the fire in the fireplace, the big desk with Viral and Rickettsial Infections of Man on it, and the free wireless. What I’m not enjoying is working on assignments for two classes, but that’s the way it goes, I suppose.

I have to say that this semester has been harder than I had thought it would be. First of all, there are the extenuating circumstances that are making life a little difficult. My knee is still healing, but Blue Cross is really complicating things. True to health insurance practices, they approved all the costs of my surgery initially, but now that the bills have started coming in, they have to contest and review every…single…one. Seriously. Every day I get a new statement telling me that they’re reviewing this or that, and a few days later I get a call or letter from one of the medical providers, complaining that Blue Cross hasn’t paid them. I haven’t been able to go to physical therapy for three weeks because Blue Cross has my prescription for PT under “medical review.” I can’t go down stairs, but I supposedly don’t really need PT? This has become incredibly draining and demoralizing. I’m not trying to whine here though. I’m very grateful that Phil and Sarah have been trying to cheer me up and keep me going, and Phil, God bless him, has been chasing after Blue Cross for me.

“Senioritis” has also started to hurt me a bit. I’m tired. This is semester number six and I’m starting to run out of steam. It’s hard for me to focus on my schoolwork – especially the readings. Of course, I’m not helped by the fact that one of my classes isn’t very enjoyable and, in my humble opinion, isn’t run very well.

Anyway, I was supposed to spend the last week and a half enjoying time away from work and doing homework, but instead I ended up dealing with major car issues and other stupid, niggly stuff that ate up my time. So here I sit, working on a paper that I had planned to have done by Tuesday and it’s now Friday. I have another assignment due Thursday and I haven’t even started on it. Gah. Normally I’m much better than this. Stupid me.

I’m thankful for the trip here though. It’s nice to see my LEEP pals – or some of them anyway – and do some commiserating. I don’t feel quite as alone or like I’m totally slacking. I also like being away from the Blue Crosses and car and other crap at home. I can just focus on schoolwork for a few days. I could do without the ice (seriously – does no one shovel their sidewalks here?), but it’s a nice change. I’ll miss coming out here every few months. I’m sad to know that this is the last time.

So last week, I spoke to a librarian at USC who asked me what advice I would give to someone preparing to enter library school. Granted, my advice was probably colored by the fact that I had just had a miserable week and I was totally exhausted when I was speaking to him, but here’s what I said:

  1. Get a Tivo or just accept the fact that you’ll have to catch up with your favorite shows when seasons come out on DVD. Or just give up TV entirely. You will not be able to keep up with Lost or Gray’s Anatomy.
  2. Make sure you have a support system in place. You are going to have moments where you’re overwhelmed, tired, confused, or just plain stressed, and you’ll need some shoulders to cry on and tell you everything is going to be okay.
  3. Everything really will be okay (it will, right?).
  4. You don’t have to read every single thing that the instructor assigns in great detail, but it really does pay to at least do a healthy skimming. You will want to know this stuff.
  5. Making smart ass remarks in class doesn’t earn you participation points, so please be quiet if you have nothing to add or ask.
  6. Fill out the instructor evaluations at the end of each semester and do so honestly and completely. Trust me, they do get read and taken reasonably seriously.
  7. Go ahead and subscribe to library mailing lists, but don’t attach too much value to what you read there. Some of the posters are very unhappy in their jobs or disillusioned and their posts reflect that. Just because they’re unhappy doesn’t mean you will be.
  8. You don’t have to end up working in a library in order to take advantage of what you learned in library school.
  9. Be committed. Trust me, you have no idea what you’re really in for. You can tell yourself, “This is going to be a lot of work or take a lot of time,” but you don’t really understand how much so until you begin. KNOW that you want this degree and you’ll find navigating the choppy waters you encounter a little bit easier.

I think that’s it. I’m sure I’ll think of more tips when I actually graduate. For now I’m living tip numbers 2, 3 and 9.

I just have to make it through to May…

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