What does it take to be successful at the iSchool? At the beginning of the summer, our program chair Joe Janes sent out a survey requesting advice from continuing iSchool students to help our incoming cohort (and the old-timers too!) be the best students that we can be. Listen to Joe's podcasts for all the details and take a look at the highlights below.
Podcast 1: How to Prepare for the iSchool
Podcast 2: Student Life. Now you're an iSchooler - what happens next?
The Top 10 Tips for iSchool Success
- Be Yourself and Don't Be Quiet. Everyone goes through moments of "impostor syndrome" but remember that the iSchool chose you! You are worthy, you do belong. You're among friends, like-minded individuals that want you to succeed. Don't be the quiet librarian stereotype. Engage, speak up, and let your unique ideas be heard. Advocate for yourself and don't underestimate your ability to create your own opportunities by being positive and enthusiastic.
- Get Organized. Stress management is always easier with a plan. Use tools like MyPlan to chart a course for your success, talk to Marie Potter or your instructors about your goals, and familiarize yourself with the technology. Create a study space and a schedule for keeping up with your coursework.
- Have a Back-Up Plan. AKA Be flexible and keep an open mind. One wise iSchooler responded that "your plan will change, but that's life." You may not be able to keep to your original study schedule or your technology might fail. Be prepared to deal with the hiccups. Likewise, you may find that your career interests change after a few classes. Don't despair! Roll with it and avoid pigeon-holing yourself. Don't just take the required courses or the classes that interest you initially. Take a tech course like XML and expand your horizons. The iSchool is full of opportunities - who knows what you'll find! It might be life-altering.
- Get Involved! Join a student or professional organization, conduct informational interviews, do a DFW or volunteer. You'll have fun, get support, and learn new things! Find out what's going on in the profession by reading blogs, talking to people who have the job you want, and building your professional network. Take ownership of your education and your professional development.
- Don't Over Do It. The iSchool and your student organizations provide students with endless opportunities for professional development, education, and socializing. Participate, but don't feel like you have to go to every information session, brown-bag lunch, or happy hour. Pick a few things that matter to you and do them well! As one iSchooler said, "Sleep is a friend too."
- Make friends and reach out to instructors. The iSchool is a truly welcoming community. Be supportive of your colleagues and they will support you. Be dependable, communicate well with your group members and work together as a team. Ask about your resources (study help, financial aid, advising, opportunities for practical experience). ALISS is here to help you celebrate your achievements, offer support and address your concerns. Attend the quarterly open meetings and don't waste your time wondering - ASK!
- Be Professional. Librarianship is a small profession. Make your contributions positive and use appropriate channels for voicing concerns. Don't complain about your professors, your classes, or your classmates on social media. Start building and maintaining your professional reputation now.
- Keep Your Goals in Mind. It's easy to become overwhelmed and get bogged down in the day-to-day of trying to keep up with grad school. One student recommended writing down your goals and referring to them often. Take a moment to remind yourself why you're here and what excites you about librarianship!
- Give Yourself Time to Take Care of Life. You might have to schedule it, but make sure to take some time to support your mental and physical well-being. Relax, spend time with family and friends, find time to exercise, take a walk and explore Seattle. Give yourself an evening or a day off from anything school-related. Your academic success will not crumble.
- Don't Beat Yourself Up. You won't know all the answers right away and you might not get to all of the readings one week. This doesn't mean you're a failure or that you'll be a bad librarian! Use your resources, reach out to faculty, staff, and other students, and don't sweat the small stuff. Make this program your own and keep the big picture in mind. Say it with us, "The iSchool is my school."