Over the past two years, I have both broadened and deepened my horizons on what library and information science entails. I originally chose the MLIS program at San José State University because I liked the technical-oriented classes it offers; I wanted to leave graduate school with more skills than concepts, and courses in HTML, database management, XML, PHP, etc. all promised to help me do so. As I finish my final semester at SJSU’s School of Library and Information Science, I am definitely graduating with a deeper technical skillset than I had two years ago. What I didn’t expect is how much I appreciate also graduating with a broader understanding of core LIS concepts, such as information seeking behavior and research design.
One of my primary strengths lies in my ability to incorporate and apply the concepts and technical skills I have learned at SLIS to my work. This seems obvious, but is easier said than done. I can identify specific aspects of work problems that relate to courses, and use this connection to framework possible solutions. For example, in my position at Sagehen Creek Field Station, I needed to curate the mammal collection–something that had never been done in the past sixty years of its existence. This was a daunting task, but I was able to break it down and ground my decisions in concepts that I learned from SLIS. I decided which specimens we would keep, and digitize, based on selection principles from LIBR 282 – Digital Asset Management. I designed the specimen database with knowledge acquired in LIBR 242 – Database Management. I created infographics to use in promoting the newly digitized collection with help from LIBR 246 – Information Visualization.
In addition to being able to effectively apply academic learning to the workplace, I am able to ask for help, communicate well, and lead by example. I also work efficiently, both in terms of time and money. Most importantly, I am driven, committed, and hardworking. As I graduate SLIS and look for a full time job in the next few months, these are valuable strengths.
My professional growth did not begin and does not end at SLIS. I believe wholeheartedly in lifelong learning, and professional development is an essential component of this. To maintain my desired professional expertise, I must devote time to my emotional, social, and intellectual selves. My emotional self is the root of my professional passion, and needs periodic recharging and reevaluation. My social self forms the valuable connectivity networks that I use professionally. My intellectual self helps me solve problems with the collective experience of my field. All three of these selves feed into each other, and require nurturing in order for me to succeed professionally.
During my time at SLIS I have learned LIS skills and concepts in fourteen broad areas of competency. I have applied these competencies to my own work experience. I have had the pleasure and opportunity of meeting excellent professors and interesting classmates. I have honed my time management and planning capabilities. My experience at SLIS informs my professional aspirations, and supports my professional growth; I look forward to exploring my future career with this background.