The Newsleter of the Association of Library & Information Science Students (ALISS)

The Silverfish is published monthly by the students of the Information School at the University of Washington.

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Exploit your learning community
By Danielle Miller
June 20,, 2002

The iSchool offers something that the majority of students on the campus don't have: A learning community! Exploit it! Here are some tips to help you get the most out of graduate school:

1. Beer. The College Inn Pub, 4006 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105, (206) 634-2307. 7 Days a week - 2:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Opens at 11:00 a.m. during finals week. Can call to reserve the Snug Room for study sessions or last night of class get-togethers. Keep in mind, the evening students have a good record of going out after the last class!

2. Bring Snacks!! Bring enough to share - make friends. In Joe's class, the mandatory snacking is not only a nice treat, it aids in building a sense of community in class as people cooperate, share and gather around the munchies to chat. Bring "quiet snacks" in Allyson's class. Actually, try to bring quiet and non-smelly snacks in general. And remember, just because it is dinner time, doesn't mean you need a three-course meal and silverware.

3. Make Friends!! Find study buddies - even if the studying is informal conversation around pints or lattes, it's very beneficial! Hey, if you CAN'T articulate something over a cuppa. You probably don't understand it well enough!

  • Make contacts with other evening students and plan relaxation activities like yoga, going out for drinks or other social activities to burn off the stress together.
  • You may want to hook up with carpool buddies and teammates as soon as you can.
  • It is so nice to have the support of your classmates or "team members." What one forgets about, the other remembers. It is great to share different strengths.
  • Beware of conflicting work schedules - this can make group projects hard to accomplish - and, you WILL do plenty of group projects!

4. Hello iSchool, Goodbye World!! School and your classmates will BECOME your social life - say goodbye to the outside world. But, with that said, try to maintain a reasonable balance between school, work and personal life.

5. Don't be too serious!! Don't be afraid to vent - but keep a positive outlook. Don't take graduate school so seriously; sometimes it's best to "cut out early for a refreshment" or "cut up with some good humor".

6. Manage your stress!! Set small completion goals for yourself with assignments, rather than trying to complete them all at once at the last minute. When working full time and attending school, stress levels can be high, and procrastination only leads to more stress.

7. Plan ahead! Scheduling is important!

  • Plan ahead for classes, particularly for evening students.
  • Save LIS550 and/or LIS560 for summer quarters since those two are generally offered in the summer evenings year after year while other cores or electives are harder to get in the evenings.
  • Check out classes in other programs and look into creating your own experiences through Independent Study and Directed Fieldwork.
  • Take LIS541 as soon as possible! It helps with 540 and other projects.

8. Get connected!! Use your resources - mentors, advisors, students, instructors, librarians, etc.! Talk to people! People have things to say and they want to help you!

9. It is never too early to start thinking about your portfolio! Also, many of the requirements for the portfolio require working on a volunteer basis, and while many busy students may be short of time, the people they will meet and the experience gained from such projects make them worthwhile. Keep a folder for portfolio ideas. Look at the portfolios that are posted online.

10. Be involved!! Do as much as you can - go to conferences, go to lectures, get involved in student groups! There is always a way to be involved even for evening students who aren't on campus as much as their daytime counterparts. Although working during the day, there are opportunities for workshops and special forums and field trips during non-work hours. These are valuable. Do the extra stuff: Independent Study, Directed Fieldwork, internships, etc.

11. Organize yourself! Use notebooks and dividers for every class. Set up a file cabinet to keep all your class materials. What we have learned is so valuable, but comes in so fast and furious; it will be nice to have all the coursework organized for future (more relaxed) reference.

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Edited by Michael Harkovitch

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