Practicum

Tomorrow I start my internship at the high school where I graduated. I’m both excited and terrified. The school is only vaguely familiar, as it’s been entirely renovated since I went there, and the majority of my teachers retired a year or two after I graduated. But it’s still nice to be “keeping it in the family”, as it was with my first fieldwork. Much as I hated school as a teen, I do feel an affinity for the district. I’m also excited to still be in the loop with the same group of librarians, because I’ve been admiring and interacting with their work for almost a year, and also because I think it’s going to be valuable to see the library program as a whole across the district’s schools.

I will admit to feeling wholly unprepared. I had intended to spend the summer teaching myself HTML, developing lesson plans, and researching the program we’ll be using to create a library orientation for the Ipods. Instead I spent it frantically trying to keep up in my Information Policy class. That class really tipped the balance of the summer for me. I truly did accomplish a lot: I survived a July that included the work for the full-summer Information Policy class, an intensive one month youth services class with a one week, full time on campus residency, triathlon training, summer reading madness at work, and studying for a certification test. I came out of it with a 4.0 GPA, my first triathlon medal, and responsibility for several new projects at the library. Truly, I was very successful this summer, but unfortunately the intensity of that Information Policy class made it an absolutely miserable process, and left me exhausted. So regardless of how well my time was spent, I am disappointed in my level of preparedness going into my practicum.

I’m trying to be level-headed about it. I’m not great at knowing when to cut myself some slack. I know people who just secured practicum sites last week, so at least I’ve had the summer to mull my projects over. I think I’m just sad because I’ve fallen short of what I had hoped to accomplish, regardless of whether it was ever realistic.

In any case, I’m going in tomorrow with a list of objectives and an understanding of what information I need. I’m going to be cheerful, keep my eyes and ears open, and soak up as much as I can. I’m going to try to be the best I can be in the moment, and not let my feelings of failure hinder that.

Aside from these concerns, I’m happy with my fall semester. I like my Information Resources class a lot so far, and my work schedule has shifted somewhat. I have far fewer hours working on the circulation desk, and I’m making up some of those hours doing special projects, which I’m pretty excited to have been entrusted with. I’m on a project team that is re-designing our library’s book sale fundraiser, which is a massive task. We’re basically working from the ground up to streamline processing/retrieval, storage, volunteer assistance and sales. We have a beautiful new display that’s generating excitement and grabbing patrons’ attention. For me, it’s a fantastic mix of grunt work (digging through donations and sorting things into different categories), supervisory experience (developing a workflow and delegating to volunteers), marketing, merchandising, and developing a database for tracking inventory. Aside from that, I’m also taking on a collection development project, evaluating my favorite collection – teen fiction.

I also have a vacation coming up. A real, actual, get out of town vacation – a trip to Richmond for a wedding. Given that I had 2 days off between the spring and summer semesters, and essentially 2 work weeks (of which I sort of crashed for 2 days) between the summer and fall semesters, I’m truly excited. I haven’t taken a real vacation since Las Vegas, which was in 2009. Right now my brain is in hardcore to-do list efficiency mode, so I’m beyond looking forward to switching off for a week.

I hope everyone is having a good fall so far. I would like to blog more often, particularly throughout my practicum. Reflection is always a revealing process for me, and helps me cement what I’ve learned. Comments are always welcome!

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