As I face down the end of my time at SJSU, it’s been interesting to go back through the coursework for 203. I took it way back in 2014. Substantively it hasn’t changed much, although it was still pretty interesting to see what isn’t in the modules. INFO 203 is a great way to start the program, but it can’t cover everything, and it turns out that several of the things that have really enriched my time here are missing from this class. With that in mind, this will be the first of three posts about ways I made the program work for me, in the hopes that you can use or adapt them to really make the program work for you.
The first piece of advice I have is also the easiest: talk to your classmates outside of the official channels.
I can say, with 100% certainty, that I got my first library job because of someone I did a group project with. When we “met” in class, she was already working for the library that now employs me, and since our respective workplaces were literally next door to each other we decided to meet in person as well (just for a few minutes). When we saw each other in another class, we volunteered to be partners again. We maintained a friendly relationship, and when her office needed to hire someone for a non-librarian position, she gave me a heads up and told the hiring manager to look out for me. Eventually, when there was a vacancy in the library due partially to her moving on to bigger and better things, I was promoted. I am literally sitting in her old desk as I type this on her old computer, on my lunch break from my fancy new job.
To be frank: I met the qualifications for my current job and exceeded the qualifications for the one [name redacted] recommended me for. I’m absolutely sure that I did well in my interviews. But I don’t know that I would have seen the initial job posting if she hadn’t pointed it out to me. And I doubt she would have pointed it out to me if we hadn’t made a personal connection. This isn’t to say that you need to go out of your way to meet the people in your classes in your area in person. It’s certainly a good idea if you can swing it, and I’ve made a couple of good friendships that way, but it’s not a requirement. If you can, though, try to at least maintain friendly communications; maybe follow each other on social media?
Now. Speaking of social media, you should probably be following the iSchool too, where you can. I know that I’ve interacted with other students in comment threads on the school’s tweets, and have found new people to follow at the very least. There are several Facebook groups dedicated to connecting iSchool students, like
- SJSU iSchool Students and Alumni, and
- SJSU School of Information, and
- iSchool Connext, and
- SJSU ASIS&T Student Chapter, and
- ALA Student Chapter (ALASC), San Jose State University.
There’s even a Facebook group for iSchool students in and around Los Angeles, and it would be super easy to start one for wherever you happen to be.
Also. Even if you don’t use Yahoo (I don’t use Yahoo), it is worth your time to join the SJSU MLIS Yahoo Group. There is a ton of information there, and while I don’t think it’s necessarily the best place to connect with people it is a really good source of information: you can ask about one professor versus another, if a particular class worth your time, or which classes are doable over the summer, for example. It’s the closest thing we have to gossiping about the program, and they’ve never steered me wrong yet.
I’m sure there are other ways to communicate outside of class that just never crossed my path. If you know them, please leave a comment! It’s too late for me, but you might be able to help each other. 🙂