Saturday, December 3, 2011

I'd Like to Thank The Academy...

Today, I presented my Capstone portfolio for Master of Library Science program.  After two years of blood, sweat and tears (oh, heaven help me, there were tears), I am a professional librarian (as soon as the final grades get put in, of course).

It's a really weird feeling.  I don't have homework anymore, I don't have to go to classes and I don't have to do group projects or stress out about presentations.  But something about this final weekend with my classmates has made me a little sentimental (read: weepy).  Ten minutes of a Capstone presentation wasn't enough time to really thank everyone and reflect properly on what this entire program has meant to me and I'm not that good of a public speaker to really say it.  And I feel more sincere when I'm in an informal setting.  Since blogging is what I do best, I am putting my thanks and appreciation here for everyone to read and refer to often.  I'll just use first names and initials, since I know I'm picky about my own privacy and I figure others are too.

First of all, I have to give a HUGE thank you to Adriane, our wonderful and indispensable advisor.  Even when I thought there was some giant catastrophe with financial aid or registration, she was always calm and collected and ready to reassure me that it wasn't that big of a deal (even though my brain kept telling my otherwise).  I often wonder if she even sleeps at all because she does so much and is so wonderful at it.  One of the first things I tell people asking about the Emporia State program in Salt Lake City is that Adriane is a total and complete sweetheart and is the one of the best things about the program.  Even when I first met her for my application interview, she was so warm and welcoming to me.  Even before I met her and we were just communicating via email - her demeanor made me want to be in this program.

While we're talking mentors and such - another HUGE thank you to Susan, LuCinda, Donnae, Mindy, Bret and Eddie at the West Jordan Library where I did my practicum.  I don't know how the managers and librarians are at other libraries in the Salt Lake County system (with me only being a substitute clerk and not a librarian), but these guys and gals were the best group of mentors a girl could ask for.  Susan especially, being my official practicum supervisor, welcomed all my questions about children's and teen services, collection development, reference questions and even cheering my quest to find that "perfect job."  When I'm in the neighborhood, I try to stop by West Jordan Library and say hi to this amazing group of people that I wouldn't mind actually working with for realsies (hint,hint, HR).  All of them helped me in ways that I can't really express here, but I am grateful beyond words.

I had some stellar professors, but the one that really stood out in my mind was Cheryl from two summers ago.  Cheryl taught our reference services class during our second semester, which was a time that I was still getting my feet under me.  She is also the associate director of the Utah State Library, which means she's a pretty important person in the Grand Scheme of Things.  We had a group presentation assignment in that class and my group did a PowerPoint about technology in libraries.  I was in charge of putting the presentation together and I also made a video for it.  After our presentation, Cheryl asked me if she could use the video I made for the trainings she did for librarians all over the state!  Also, when I saw Cheryl at the ULA conference in May, she remembered who I was and even bragged to some of the other people there that I did a rather clever presentation in for her class.  For a hayseed farm girl from the sticks, that's a pretty big deal.

On to my cohorts.  All of them have contributed something to my education and influenced my experiences, but some stand out from the group.

Next, I have to thank Heather N.  For one thing, putting me up for the week of the ULA Conference.  For another, being my "other mom" during the Serbia study abroad trip (more on that in a minute).  And for all her confidence and expertise (which she'll deny to the end of time, but she is one of the most capable people I've known at any level of academics I've been in) never, not once, did she make me or anyone else feel inferior.  On the contrary, she always had a desire for all of us to be our best and succeed.  As far as she was concerned, one person's victory was a victory for everyone.

Speaking of Serbia, I could not have survived that trip without Ginger and Brienne as well.  I've mentioned how I had never traveled outside the country before, but Ginger and Brienne had and were more than willing to take this "international greenie" under their wings (Ginger was my other "other mom" on this trip).  I loved being with the entire group, including the ladies from the other Emporia cohorts - Kristy, Amy, Ericka and Mary - but my classmates hold a special place in my heart.  The entire Serbia trip was a wonderful thing for me to do, even though a part of me wished the entire time I could go home.  It was in Serbia that I realized that I had enough knowledge and confidence to stand my ground even with the most experienced librarians - that I have just as much to contribute to the conversation as someone who's been at it for twenty years.

Angie.  Angie, without whom I would not have had the guts to even apply for Serbia.  For the implications of that, see the previous paragraph.  Angie - thanks.

Back in Utah, I have to acknowledge Brenda, who was my seatmate for most of our classes together.  Somehow, we managed to sit next to each other for nearly every class and we had a blast when the lectures got a little dry (sorry folks, it happens sometimes).  We found things to talk about, both in and out of library-related topics, and I consider her a good friend.

I also have to mention Lisa G. - one of the most dynamic and excited-to-be-here children's librarians I've ever met.  I can only hope to reflect a fraction of her enthusiasm for the profession.  I keep thinking I ought to go watch her do a story time at her library because it would be one of the most gratifying things I could see.  She is someone I also look up to and I have to thank her for her example.  Along those lines, Jessica gets a special mention for her equal excitement about teen librarianship.

Other people that I found joy working with - Katie, Jon, Dale, Josh, Kellie, Emily (who was also one of the best lunch buddies I've had), Amy C. and the other Amy C., Trisha, Heather B. (who helped me find a place for the books I weeded out of West Desert High School's library) and Catherine - all of you made the entire Emporia experience for me.

I would remiss if I didn't mention the people outside of the Emporia program who supported me.  Mom and Dad - for the money, verbal support and a place to live while I did my work.  Kathryn for letting me stay with her during class weekends (and who continues to give me friendship and emotional support).  Ed for giving me a job at West Desert, letting me have time off for class and the ULA conference, allowing me run of the West Desert Library.  Also, my students last year who were willing to be my guinea pigs for some of my class projects (I showed off some of your excellent work in Serbia, you guys!)  Not to mention the West Desert Community for letting me show them off for my Strategic Plan Project in LI 805 (another video - you all have no idea how much fun I have putting videos together).

This has been something I will always treasure.  It sounds trite and a little cliche, but this was one of the best things I've ever done for myself.  I have learned and grown so much from it and I wouldn't exchange it for anything else I could have done with these last two years (in spite of all the times I got on here and pissed and moaned about this professor doing that or that classmate doing this.  Don't worry guys, I never used names).  I'm not quite sure what to do with myself until I get a job (please Job Fairy, find me something good!), but I am glad to have known everybody and I hope I have done something good for the rest of you as well.

There's not much else to say - except *hug*

Martha Donna Hug

I love you all.

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