School has been nearly the only thing on my mind since late January. If I say “this was the hardest semester of my life” a thousand times in this post, don’t let it cheapen the reality of that statement! Four classes while working forty hours a week is no joke. I can’t even begin to imagine how some of my classmates are doing this with children! You may have noticed that I only posted about once a week on here for the past few months, and that is all that I could manage while going through this semester and trying to stay healthy (which I have, thankfully). It wasn’t a bad semester, but it definitely pushed me more than I expected. Now we’re ten days into May, so I need to get an April wrap-up posted ASAP! I didn’t have much time to read for myself, but here’s a rundown of what I managed, followed by a recap of my April goals, setting May goals, and an overview of the classes I took and their highlights.
Books Completed in April
- Elegy for Trains by Benjamin Myers; Poetry; ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- A Poetics of Orthodoxy by Benjamin Myers; Nonfiction – Theology, Prosody; ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Irrepressible Reformer: A Biography of Melvil Dewey; Nonfiction – Biography; ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Cataloging Cultural Objects: A Guide to Describing Cultural Works and Their Images; Nonfiction – Librarianship – Cataloging Standards; ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Average Rating: 4⭐s
Books Read (Not Completed) in April
- Hope in Times of Fear: The Resurrection and the Meaning of Easter by Timothy Keller; Nonfiction – Theology
- The Public Library: A Photographic Essay by Robert Dawson; Nonfiction – Photography, Libraries
April Goals Follow-Up
- Complete all school presentations/projects at a high quality and maintain straight A’s ✔
- I’m still waiting on final grades to be released, but even if I fail my final projects (which is not possible) I think I would still keep all A’s
- Post at least once a week, preferably twice, and include Spell the Month in Books on the 10th ✔
- I barely met this one with posting once a week and getting April’s Spell the Month in Books linkup posted on time (unlike this month – it will be up soon, I promise!)
- Research Snake Plant care to see if there is anything extra I should be doing for my plant as we move out of the dormant season and into the growing season ✔
- I did just a little research, and I’ve circled back to this topic again now. I think I may get a lamp, possibly with a “grow light” bulb, to leave on during the day and see if that will help all of my plants perk up.
Other April Highlights
Honestly, school kept me running so much that I really didn’t do anything besides work, homework, and research! I did discover two new-to-me caffeinated study aids, though: Maxwell House iced coffee and V8 Sparkling Energy drink. The second one shocked me with how good it is!
What a semester the past 5 months have been! I honestly have never had one this challenging before. Last semester, it was an adjustment to take two classes while working full time, but I managed and still kept up with other things as well. This time, I took four classes (although one was just a single credit hour and only lasted the first half of the semester). It truly had me running ragged at some points. I don’t regret signing up for this many classes, but I will have to think pretty hard before I decide to do so again.
Intro to Rare Books & Special Collections – This is the one-credit hour class, and (of course) it was my favorite. It was so fun to learn about the practices that go into Special Collections and rare book collections and best practices for handling these items.
Library Instruction & Information Literacy – For the majority of the semester, I would have said that this was my most challenging class. The material wasn’t challenging, but the course setup was different from my other classes and I wasn’t always clear about what the professor was expecting. On top of that, several of my assignments had to be recorded instead of typed, which added extra time to completing them. However, I got 100% on all of my assignments, so I guess I figured it out well enough.
Organization of Information – This may have been the most interesting class I took this semester. Did you know that there are dozens (if not hundreds) of formalized methods for organizing library materials? And, what do you do with materials that are not traditional media like books or movies? How would you organize an archival collection of eclectic artifacts, or unpublished manuscripts, or baking pans? This class began to answer all of these. It’s not truly a cataloging class, but we also covered introductory material to that topic, too. I also learned about some unique collections, like the Sourdough Library and American Pigeon Museum, and that there are librarians who work at Netflix.
Management in Information Organizations – Now that the semester is over and I can see the bigger picture, this class was the most difficult. The concept for the class was impressive: we were divided into small groups and assigned a fictional library system to manage throughout the semester. Every two weeks we covered a different aspect of management, including both theories and practical application. Together, our group had to decide how to apply what we learned to the situation at our fictional library and write a chapter per unit about it. In the end we compiled these chapters into one massive paper (and by massive, I mean around 70 pages total). The amount of reading required for this class was much more than most classes. Every other week we were assigned approximately five chapters from the textbook plus a handful of articles to read and respond to on a discussion board. At the same time, we had another unrelated book to read and do a project over which we had to present at the end of April. Sadly, my group struggled with communication and consistency throughout the entire semester. I think we will manage to pull out a good grade on the final product; assuming that we do, it might be the most hard-earned grade I’ve ever gotten. Group projects are never my favorite thing, and this did nothing to assuage that! Still, I do think that I learned more in this class than I expected.
Overall, I learned a LOT of good information this semester. The classes were all set up a little differently, providing different challenges and strengths. A fair amount applied to my everyday work, too, making it more interesting and enriching my experience. It was still the hardest semester I’ve ever had and I will be glad to never do a group project like this again!
Goals for May (at least the last 3/4 of it)
- Get my taxes filled out and in on time
- Buy a sofa
- Send just-because cards to a few friends
- READ for fun; at least 2 fiction and 2 nonfiction books
- Thoroughly clean my apartment…I’ve only spot-cleaned for the past few months
- Post more consistently here, preferably around 3 times per week through the end of the month
- Post on my bookstagram at least once or twice
I’ve had challenging classes before, but this semester takes the cake! How has it been for you, Reader? How have you been challenged in the past few months? What are you looking forward to for the rest of this month?
Until the next chapter,