It’s back-to-school time, and although I’m not heading to any classes, the fact that campus is now swarming with students reminds me that there is a new group of students starting library school. And if these people feel half as lost and confused as I did during my first few weeks, then they could use some advice. First, take a look at Biblioblond’s Thoughts on “Back to School” for MLIS Students, where she lists her Top 5 tips for incoming students. Then, if you’re not afraid of slightly stale information, you can take a peek at my post from last September.
Now, thinking back on my two years at SIS, here’s my advice:
- Get involved with a student group. I remember when I was doing my undergrad, I thought student government and groups were totally lame, but trust me, in library school they’re worthwhile. If you’re at McGill, you can find some good info on the SIS website, and if you’re a student elsewhere, I’m sure you can find what you need online somewhere – you’re a resourceful soon-to-be information professional, after all. Figure out which group (or groups) is best aligned with your interests, and attend their first meeting. This is a great way to meet people and learn more about the field. Plus it looks terrific on a CV/resume!
- Run for the executive of a student group. Okay, so this is an extension of my last point, but it really is that important! Each student group’s website should have info about running for exec (e.g., the McGill CLA Student Chapter – pay attention to the positions that say TBA in September: that could be you!), but if you can’t find that information online, just ask someone. The first year student who becomes VP often automatically becomes President in their second year, so keep this in mind if you’d like to run the show next year.
- Go to social events organized by the student groups (or by anyone else, for that matter). In my experience, these events are usually poorly attended, but those of us who made the effort to go always had a blast.
- Keep in mind that all the other first year students feel just as nervous and lost as you do – so go up to people and introduce yourself, because everyone is trying to make friends at the beginning of the year.
- Don’t be shy to approach the second year students for help – like you, they chose this profession because they like to help people.
- And finally, here’s one for McGill students only: join the Professional Partnering Program. It’s an incredible opportunity to get to know someone who’s working in the field, and the time commitment is completely flexible. You have no excuse for not joining this program!