Great idea from jasonwdean. What’s yours?
My story is an odd sort of fumbling towards librarianship.
Immediately after I completed my undergraduate degree, I entered a Masters program for English Literature of the University of Rochester. I went in thinking that I wanted to be a professor. That this was just a step on the path towards my PhD and eventual settlement into a career as a fabulously interesting literature professor like the ones I had at Fredonia State.
I was terribly mistaken.
While U of R may be the place for some people, it was not the place for me. I hated social theory (post-colonialism was in fashion at the time) for literature, especially when it was applied to older works, where these theories weren’t in scholarly existence. I hated the books written when the theories existed even more, because it felt like each book was trying to fill a formula. I’ve come to enjoy some of these theories now, but at the time it felt like we were taking books and trying to force them into holes of our own making.
It didn’t help that it was an entire MA degree in one year (September 2008-August 2009), thesis and all, and I was just 22. I was not ready for that level of scholarship maturity-wise. And, to be honest, I’m not skilled enough to keep up with the folks who were in the program.
So, once I was finished, I took two years to sort myself out. I worked for a god-awful law office as a paralegal, which completely destroyed my self-confidence. Why my boyfriend (now fiance) stayed with me is still a mystery. It was a horrible time in my life.
I applied for PhD programs anyway, just to say I tried. I retook my GRE, I took the Lit in English GRE. I was rejected from all of them. But before the last letter had been opened, I started my application to the University at Buffalo for the MLIS program. It has always been my back-up plan, as I knew I could never get a job with just a MA in English.
I was accepted and started in June of 2011. I figured it was a means to an end: I’d have the piece of paper to say I was qualified to be a librarian and I would go along my merry way.
How wrong I was. As soon as we talked about Raganathan’s 5 Laws of Library Science, I was lost:
- Books are for use.
- Every reader his [or her] book.
- Every book its reader.
- Save the time of the reader.
- The library is a growing organism.
It was like some had turned a light on in a dark room, a room I didn’t know had been anything more than a black nothing. I realized that this was everything I always believed in, even before I had a name for it. My whole life was spent believing these things, but I never had the words for it.
My life changed so fundamentally, and I am so thankful for it.
So, tumblarians. What are your origin stories?