Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Catching Up - M.L.I.S. at Last!

I can hardly believe that my time at OU is finished.  Everyone is always amazed at how quickly it went by, and it did go by pretty fast (especially when I had a paper due!)  I'm not sure I'm ready for what comes next - mainly getting a teaching certification and a job.

 My plan is to get the certification next semester so that I'll be ready when the jobs come open in the fall.  I've been trying to brainstorm ways to get experience on my resume, and, thanks to a friend with connections, had an opportunity before Thanksgiving at a local elementary school.  They received bond money last year to renovate their school, including their media center (library, for you lay-people out there!)  They finished up several weeks before the Thanksgiving Break, so I volunteered to help unpack all the stuff that had been in storage and help set up the new library.  It was fun - hard work, but fun! - and got me some valuable experience and lovely contacts.  It also helped me find an opportunity to start in January at a district about 20 miles away, but after evaluating all my options, I decided to stick with my original plan.

My courses this semester seemed very easy after last semester's load of courses requiring observation and collaboration at actual schools, along with taking my comps.  In comparison, this semester was a walk on the beach!  I actually wrapped up my coursework a week before the final assignments were due.  After a couple of days I e-mailed my instructor to see if she was going to grade the assignments as they were turned in, or if she was going to grade them after the dropbox closed.  She replied that I "need to relax."  Easy for her to say!  I wanted to know if I had made it through graduate school with straight A's.  A week later, I found out that I had - Woo-hoo!  4.0 Baby!!!!

I had my official portrait made for the yearbook, and decided to walk across the stage.  After all, I had put in a lot of work for this degree!  I bought the smallest package of official announcements and proceeded to try and think of 25 people who would want to know that I had graduated.  You know, for high school and college it was easy to make a long list, because I sent them out to everyone my parents or I knew.  Masters?  Not so much.  Parents, siblings, and then to all the folks who had helped me - along with a note of thanks.  That definitely made the list longer.  I have a lot of friends who have been very supportive, and those who I've met in the local schools that have come along beside me when I've been discouraged about not having teaching experience.  Since they will end up being my colleagues, I'll be fine.  It's easy to see why most school librarians love their jobs - it is a great group of people.

My graduation was set for December 14, and all three sets of parents decided to come up and see me receive my diploma.  We got ready super early, and headed out several hours in advance of the ceremony to take pictures on campus, which was good, because in the five years I've lived here, I've NEVER seen traffic like what we were stuck in that day.  We got there with 5 minutes to spare - so no pictures, but we made it on time - whew!  

Me, Mom, and the girls

 I went in one entrance, and the family entered from the other side of the arena.  I found the rest of the SLIS grads that were participating.  Dr. Brown came by and we got a quick picture before we proceeded down to our seats. 
 We started at the top level and went down one side of the arena, crossed the floor, and then back up the other side to our seats.  Although we had been notified to wear "appropriate footware" for the numerous steps, I was amazed by 1) the number of gals who wore four to five-inch heels, and 2) the number of people who had made it through four years of college (or a graduate degree program) that had not learned how to operate an iron, but had obviously taken the gown straight out of the packaging and put it on.  *Sigh.*

The arena

SLIS students and professor - all wearing sensible shoes :-)

Made it to my seat without tripping!
 I must say, the college had this process down to a science.  As we came down from our seats they took a photo of us in front of a green screen, then we handed our card with our name on it - spelled both normally and phonetically - and they announced our name and we got our diploma (cover).  We came from both sides of the arena, so we moved along at a good clip.


A hug from the department chair, Dr. Brown

Getting my handshakes from Doctors Snead, Rubenstein, and White

As soon as it was done we headed to Charleston's for the celebratory dinner, and then back to the homestead.  It is officially over!

Now what? 

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