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Thursday, August 29, 2013

1st Week of School is Done: A Few Things I've Learned Already

This is the first capitol building in Iowa.  It is smack dab in the center of campus.  It is also the crowning glory of a very large, steep hill that you can't escape when you are going to school at the University of Iowa.  You can jog, skate, bike, walk, or take a bus, but up that hill you will go.  There is no way around it if you need to get from point A to point B and they are on either side of this sharply inclined pain in the ass.  But there is a lovely view while you move up and over that hill.

On top of the hill are all the cool shops, great food places, and the ped-mall.  It's where everyone goes when they don't want to stay in the library to study or  be in class.  It's always busy.  I've walked up and down that hill numerous times this week, and my legs are still shrieking.  

Here are a few things I've learned already.  At this rate, by the time I'm done in 2 years, I will have so much knowledge I may want to rule a small country:

*I do not look like a student.  This is good in many ways.  No one bothers me while I'm moving from point A to point B.

*The shorts young ladies wear these days are just too damn short.  Yeast infections must run rampant around here.

*Librarians are not what you think.  I believe I am riding the "cusp" of this new, crazy, information guru librarian wave.  Forget card catalogs, and instead think computer savvy, class teaching, information-culler and program-forming source of all knowledge.  That is what a librarian is today.  Oh.  There are also a gazillion different types of librarians.  I have yet to meet one who has the same title as another.  They work everywhere!  

*Iowa has the most public libraries of any state in the United States.  Sweet.

*I am too old to go to 2 classes twice a week and work full time to come home and have a cocktail.  These are firmly placed on the Friday/Saturday night dinner menu for the next few months.  No drinkee for Susie.  At least not during the week.  

*Graduate school is hands down so beyond different than undergraduate school.  All I can say is it involves projects for class, lots of reading articles, and always, always, looking at ways to connect with others in your field.  So far I will be attending a conference (and writing a paper on it), interviewing a librarian, job shadowing a librarian this semester, giving a book talk, leading a class discussion (a whole hour and 20 minutes--power point may be used--did I tell you I don't know power point?) keeping a reading journal, reading one book a week from several different genres, learning to write computer code, and having group projects in class, too.  This is just the tip of the ice berg.  I also have to write a 20 page paper and a 7 page paper.  And I think a 3-5 page paper, too. 

*There aren't enough calendars to keep track of all this stuff.  I am deathly afraid I will miss some crucial due date.  I would like a personal assistant to tell me what my day will require every morning while serving me coffee and a chocolate filled croissant.  

****All I can keep saying to myself is have faith.  This is a marathon and I will remember to hydrate, snack to keep up my energy, and take rest breaks when needed.  But I will get through it and learn a lot in the process.  Have faith is my mantra.

I am now off to bed, so I can let my brain rest.  

**One more thing.  All this new learning stuff is making my brain have some crazy ass dreams at night, populated with people I've never seen and colors that would rival Oz.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Few Things I'm Grateful For....Saturday Edition

It has been forever since I posted anything about gratitude, so here's my musings on some things that I am grateful for in my life--big and small:

Blueberries  I cannot get enough of blueberries.  I eat so many that my dentist asks me every time I visit if I'm still eating frozen blueberries.  Luckily I've managed to snag lots of fresh berries this summer.  I love them in smoothies, in oatmeal, and just by themselves.  Yum.

Wendy's Chocolate Frosty  I adore these.  Chocolatey malty goodness that is a sweet treat on a hot day (and we're in a heat wave here in Iowa right now!)

Templeton Rye Whiskey This is an Iowa product and I can't tell you enough how it has changed my view of whiskey.  Bud and I enjoy it over ice.  It makes me feel like I have finally grown up and is a perfect small treat after a long week.  Click on the link to visit their website.  At first extremely hard to find, its growing popularity has made it more available in places outside of Iowa.  My brother even found it in New Mexico!

Mac Book Air  Honestly, I'm not a huge laptop fan.  I prefer my desktop. But, with school starting, I can't carry that around to class.  My Mac Book Air is sleek, light, and thankfully I had no problem adjusting to this little gem.  It will become my new bestie while I'm at school.  And I've got a lovely red cover to protect it.  

And finally, I am grateful for the support I've received from family and friends on my return to school.  Bud has been beyond wonderful and knows he will hear everything about every class every week.  And the people at school?  I've had nothing but positive experiences--everyone is helpful and easy to talk to about the smallest of worries.  I can't tell you how much I missed the world of academia and how good it feels to be back in it again.  I guess I'm a school nerd.  And this probably won't be my last time going to school.  I'm already planning what degree I will earn after I retire and can go to school just for the heck of it :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

See, They Knew I Was Coming To College

School is a mere 3 weeks away, and the butterflies are definitely starting to appear.  I have my books, my book bag, and my school ID.  I am thankful it doesn't look like my driver's license, which portrays me as a bitter old woman who recently held up a liquor store.  At least school lets you smile for your picture!

Yesterday it was announced that: University of Iowa is Number One Party School .  They must have known I was going to be a grad student this Fall.  I suspect all my drinking will be done at home, and not in the bars around downtown Iowa City.  After all, I do need to drive 20 miles home.  I will cherish Friday and Saturday nights when I am done working and done with school for the week and can have a friendly cocktail with my sweetie in the comfort of my own home.  Lately I've been stuck on the classic cocktail the Old-Fashioned.  Not for sissies--it packs a punch.  There are many variations, but mostly it's just a few ingredients:  bourbon, ice, simple syrup, a bit of water, bitters, an orange slice, and a maraschino cherry.  It will put hair on your chest--or if you've already got a  hairy chest, check out your back.  

I keep getting emails from the SLIS (School of Library and Information Science)--which is great.  Only problem is that I don't really have any idea what some of them are about.  I expect I will soon unlock the secrets to some of these new terms, ideas, and opportunities.  I can't wait to look back on this Fall semester and see how it all panned out.  I think my brain will be undergoing a radical change in a few short months.  

I had dinner with friends last night, and one said to me "How are you going to read for fun with all this going on?"  And my response was "I just will.  I will make time."  Reading every day is a necessity for me, and a stress coping mechanism.  Sometimes (well, mostly every week) I get up an hour early in the morning just so I can read before going to work.  I can't seem to read in bed very much without falling asleep.  And then I think I'm awake and reading, and wondering why the story has changed so dramatically--then I realize I'm actually lying with my eyes closed and making it all up.  I have to say I've impressed myself with those story crafting abilities.  Perhaps I should write a book someday?  After school, of course.  

This time of year, it's all about getting kids ready for school.  I like to think about all the adults who are starting school anew; looking at another career path, finishing that degree that was interrupted all those years ago; making that brave decision to step back into academia even if it's just to take classes and fulfill a long desire to attend school.  We are nervous, excited, and have our school bags, too.  We just have to drive ourselves to school.  We don't have anyone holding our hands and taking our pictures.  It's a bit of a solitary road but I'm a big girl, and I can do it all by myself.  Just make sure there's someone standing at the door on Friday night with a cocktail for me.