SJSU iSchool Convocation– Dreams and Musings on Graduating
Published: May 24, 2017
Rise and shine, it’s graduation day! For a virtual convocation like that at San José State University’s iSchool, I didn’t have to find comfortable shoes or clothes that wouldn’t cause me to broil underneath a graduation gown.
Instead of fighting to find a parking place within miles of the venue or making sure that all my less than young and spritely family members can find seating (or that my super-spritely family members stay in their seats), I got to sit on my couch with my mom and my oldest daughter and enjoy some celebratory words, and check out the Collaborate session attendees to see who was there (Hi Beth! Hi Tamarack!).
There weren’t huge crowds or big grins as people received walked across a long stage to receive their diplomas (nothing but a blank book for my undergraduate degree; I had to pick it up later). Nor were there large parties with friends, family and mere acquaintances. Like my whole graduate school career, convocation and the celebration of receiving my masters degree was fit snugly between schlepping children off to ballet class and celebrating the piano accomplishments of a third-grader at a class recital. Life happens, and for me graduate school happened too, so that I could make that life more worthwhile for myself and my family.
An exclusively virtual school environment is not less than its physical counterpart, it is only different—completely different. I could not have attended classes at an institution. The time I managed to carve out to do my readings, post discussions and complete assignments was the only time I could commit to graduate school. There was no time left in my day to spend driving to class. Similarly, convocation happened on my old laptop (bless you, computer for making it all the way through grad school!) with my proud mother sitting next to me. I can assure you that she was no less proud sitting on the couch than she would have been sitting in a sweltering stadium.
The ceremony itself, with the various speakers representing the staff, graduates and guest speaker Dr. Debra Wallace was encouraging. Haycock Award Recipient and graduate speaker Essraa Nawar spoke of the library in her hometown of Alexandria, Egypt which sparked my imagination both remembering my own childhood libraries and thinking of the most famous (and infamous) library of ancient history right there in Alexandria. Wallace spoke of the necessity of librarians and the ways in which we could answer that oh-too-common question of, “Why do we need librarians?” I liked her thought-provoking and open-ended reply. “Well, that depends.” It continues the conversation.
Of all the elements of the iSchool’s convocation website, my narcissistic self likes the graduate profiles the best. I like to see and read all the comments people have made. Other people’s pride in my accomplishments remind me to be proud of myself—I did work hard! It has also been fun to skip around and write comments on other graduates’ profiles. Remember high school yearbooks? “I’m glad I got to know you in Geometry class (replace with Research Methods, et. al). Have a great summer!” The sentiment is the same even if the vocabulary and syntax have changed.
I’ve made many contacts and friends through the years and I’ve got an extensive email address book to show for it. Some people are professional contacts as well, and I keep tabs on those folks through LinkedIn. Since my experience working in libraries is so limited, my professional contacts are my best connection to a career. Not only are these people good for my furthering a job search, they’re good for furthering personal connections to people who share my love for information, literature, language and librarianship.
What now? I rest. Juggling graduate school with work and family took a lot of time and energy and for the next month or so I’ll be recharging my batteries. I love librarianship and I love stories and being creative, but I’m not going to dive into a full-time job just yet. As I casually begin my job search, I’ll be searching Pinterest boards and YouTube for slime recipes and preschool appropriate science projects. We plan to buy some monarch eggs and watch them hatch into caterpillars. I look forward to the wonder and excitement each day brings until they are butterflies. The details are still percolating, but I’m hoping to introduce a butterfly art project that will pique the interest of two girls going into the fourth grade. I look forward to reading on the beach and then walking a hundred yards back to our spacious new tent where my family and I will put on an extra sweater before sitting around a campfire and toasting marshmallows.
This is what summer – and graduating – is all about and I don’t intend to miss any of it because I have a term paper due. I also believe that all these summertime experiences will make me a better person and a better librarian.
For related Community reads, check out:
Graduating Students Recognized for Excellence
image courtesy of Stuart Miles