Before I moved to the midwest, I worked at a coffee shop in California as a slave to the bean. One of the regular customer’s wrote me a really nice card before I left for library school and in it he wrote “nothing great comes without risk”. Lately, these words have held a lot of weight in my mind. This semester, I’ve tried to kick my participation level in school into high gear and jam pack my week full of stuff to do. At the end of a 12 hour day in the library, I’m totally exhausted and when I go home, I procrastinate on homework by looking at library blogs. I’ve become so obsessive that my boyfriend told me “library, library, library = brain fry”, but I really can’t help it because I’m so excited by the possibilities.
The bigger looming question is : what is all this worth if I can’t apply it? What if I had taken a huge leap into going to school far away from my familiar resources and I fail? I know I’m not the only one who has these fears. I had spoken to another student who was hesitant to apply for a position because it was tenure-tracked. You have one chance to get it and if you don’t get tenure, you have about a year to find another job. At first, I was very surprised because I thought this person was very qualified for the position, but then I thought more of the reasoning. She was afraid of failure. There are so many people in the world who prefer to maintain a state of inertia, complacency because they’re afraid to try. Nothing makes me more sad to see people with intelligence and the potential to be great leaders not utilize those skills because they don’t see their worth.
As a group, librarians tend to be very helpful people, which includes helping each other (students too!) with professional development. This is what sets us apart from other disciplines, our model is service, so it’s natural to encourage each other, which is why I love the idea of hacklibschool – a site that’s by and for library students. The friends that I’ve made in library school are some of my biggest cheerleaders, they cheer me up when I am down and I do the same for them. The other thing we should keep in mind is to encourage risk taking, to do stuff that we’re not comfortable with (for more insight check this advice to students ).
I think it’s important to push each other out of our comfort zones, to take risks because “nothing great comes without risk”. So far, I’d say my experiences in school have been worth it.