That Artsy Librarian is a feature all about my journey through graduate school as I work towards my Master’s degree in Library and Information Science.
First off, welcome to my brand new feature all about my life as a grad school student in library and information science! I’m a little late getting things started, as my grad school story started in December of 2012, but no worries! I’ll make sure I catch all of you up on what I’ve been up to!
What better way to start my story than at the beginning? This decision to completely change my future did not come about easily. I went through a lot of confusion and frustration before finally deciding what I needed to do to be a happier person. Ever since I graduated from college with a degree in graphic design back in December of 2009, I was confused. I knew I loved designing, but I discovered it was an industry that I wanted to be very selective about. I wanted to design what I wanted to design, for people I wanted to design things for! I did not love the idea of getting a job at a design firm and then being required to be creative on demand. Design is a very personal thing for me. If I am presented with a project I’m excited about, I go all out. The ideas flow immediately. If I don’t care much for the project, I sit and wallow in my un-creativity forever. I get stressed out. I chew myself out for not being perfect. I could not see myself being happy in the corporate world of graphic design. That’s why I freelance. I can be selective. I remember one time a potential client came to me asking for me to design an erotica book cover. I was happy that I was allowed the choice to decline.
Since I knew I was only wanting to freelance, I started looking for a job that would give me a steady income. This broke and bookish girl can’t live off of a few design jobs a month. Nobody can! During this time of confusion and tough decisions, I fell into a volunteer position at an elementary school, teaching children how to read. I loved it. The position turned into a paying job, and I got to teach reading, phonics, and even some art. In the end, the school lost some of their funding funding and I was out of a job. I substitute taught for a year, again ending up in a position that did not give me a steady income. In addition to that, I was months away from losing my health insurance. It was time to find a serious, full time job with benefits. I found one very quickly, and was really excited at first! It sounded like a promising opportunity to climb the corporate ladder. This place ended up being the beginning of the decline of my health, though. The working environment was so toxic and abusive that I was constantly on pins and needles. The customers were horrible, and my superiors were heartless. I developed 15+ ulcers, I ruined my gallbladder and had to have surgery for its removal, I developed all kinds of weird stomach and digestive problems, I gained weight, my entire body hurt all the time, and I was very depressed. I had hit rock bottom. Literally. In my eyes, there was no way my life could get any worse.
Last Christmas, my mom and I were sitting in our living room by the Christmas tree as I had one of my frequent meltdowns. I cried and cried over my future. I graduated magna cum laude (GPA of 3.8), for crying out loud! I killed myself in college to be perfect and pave the road for my future. And what did it get me? I was chained to a desk being yelled at by customers, and not being defended by my superiors. As my mom and I sat there wondering what to do, it hit my mom that I needed to go back to school. My jaw dropped, and I looked at her like “are you kidding?” Go BACK to school? I was so happy to leave! Why would I choose to go back? It only took a few minutes for me to agree, though. But what should I go back to school for?
We thought and thought, and realized that being a librarian would be the perfect job for me. I could work with children, I could share my love of reading, I could still use my graphic design skills (artsy librarians are a novelty), and I could make great money. I could do something I love and get paid for it. From that point on, I was determined. The next few months would be a whirlwind of research and applying, but I was ready. My future was bright again, and I knew I would end up being happy.
Let’s talk for a second. Have you ever reached a point in your life where you felt like you could sink no further? How did you handle that? What advice do you have for people who are going through something like that?
Keep an eye out for my next That Artsy Librarian feature, where I will tell you all about the application process!