New School Year, New Opportunities

Career Blog

Published: September 2, 2016 by Kate M. Spaulding

Take advantage of student chapters of professional organizations to learn a lot and expand your network!

Happy back to school! Or, if you’re like me and took summer classes, I hope you had a nice couple of days off… ;)

And just like that, stores are selling back-to-school and Halloween. While it doesn’t feel quite like pumpkin season to me, there is a sense of possibility and of fresh starts that comes with the beginning of every new school year. And that fresh start? It’s the perfect time to stretch your comfort zone and jump into the world of professional organizations.

Whether you are brand new to the iSchool or a seasoned student, I’m sure you have at least a passing knowledge that professional associations exist in the library and information science world. For one, you were taught about them in INFO 203. For another, student chapters of national organizations are active at SJSU and I know you get emails about events, meetings, information, and ways to get involved.

I am here today to argue that you should not just delete all those emails. Get involved! Attend Collaborate sessions! Learn cool new stuff! Make new connections, or even friends!

Just this week, I participated in a great session the ASIS&T student chapter put together with Jill Klees, who spoke about ways to gain resume-level experience as a student. Last year, I attended the group’s presentation with three recent grads who shared their tips for iSchool success. During the spring semester, I watched ALASC’s event designed to help students choose between writing a thesis and doing the eportfolio (Collaborate recording available).  SJSU’s SLA chapter hosted Aaron Schmidt talking about UX for Libraries, which is not something you hear about everyday. 

What these examples demonstrate is that professional organizations are way more than those occasional, awkward cocktail hours – many of them are vibrant, active communities of students and professionals who want to learn more and also share what they already know. And they are definitely a great way to expand your network – you know, that thing that will help you get a job.

So the next time an email arrives in your inbox promising an interesting speaker, a local meet up, or opportunities for gaining experience and marketable skills, don’t delete it. Say yes. Your career will thank you for it!

Visit the student chapter associations’ websites:


Post new comment