Life’s a journey. Until recently, I was on a very specific path that I had laid out sometime around my junior year in high school. A decade later I stumbled upon a fork in the road. One way offered more of the same and the other offered adventure. One was safe and the other was risky. And somewhere along the way, I finally threw caution to the wind. I took the path my 17-year-old self did not see coming. That’s how I ended up here.
Journalist to librarian
When I was a junior in high school I took an advanced writing class. Lenny, as we all affectionately called our teacher, introduced us to every style of writing there is, including journalism. The first unpublished “news” article I wrote explored the engrossing topic of kiwi fruit. I was hooked. On journalism, not kiwi fruit, though I do love kiwi fruit.
During my senior year, I mentored at the local newspaper, writing articles on everything from mars travelling closer to Earth than ever before to therapeutic horseback riding. The city editor took me under her wing and taught me that information is power and it is our responsibility to share that information with anyone who needed it.
I spent the next 9 years immersing myself in the field of journalism: writing and researching articles, memorizing an industry-specific stylebook that is otherwise useless, perfecting the art of saying a lot in very little space and learning how switching up column-models adds variety and white space to a page. In short, I spent nearly a decade becoming fairly knowledgeable in just about every aspect of print media.
Something happened in the last two years. I discovered the dark side of the industry: The ideals you must sacrifice to stay in business, the people you hurt to sell a few more papers, the needy you step around because you can’t possibly dirty your hands in order to help them. I’m not saying all journalists are like this. But I feel constrained by my industry, unable to lend a tangible helping hand.
So I started searching, on Google mostly. But the light bulb didn’t flash until I visited my old librarian friends at the university library I worked at for two and a half years before taking over as editor of the student newspaper. The reference and instructor librarian gave me tons of information and sources about the job. She is a librarian, after all. But her excitement about the prospect of me joining the field was contagious. I credit her for giving me the courage to take the leap.
I spent much of my life in libraries, but the thought had honestly never occurred to me. And then it did. And I researched everything I could on the field. And then I researched schools. And then I applied.
And here we are. I’ll begin pursuing my Master’s in Library Science at the University of Maryland at the end of August. I’m part of the online cohort, a growing segment of the library student population. When classes finally begin, I’ll officially consider myself a librarian-in-training, a beta librarian, if you will. And I can’t wait for the journey to begin.