Revisions and new possibilities

About an hour ago, I completed a paper for Collection Development. Five pages of content, two of references, and a title page. I was seriously just happy that I got it in a half-hour before midnight.

Oh — and that I was just barely under the maximum word count!

It would be nice if I were able to deal with my ePortfolio, now that I’m back in the world of the living. I really, seriously, need to get over my intimidation on it and just start writing stuff out. It won’t get written if I don’t write it, that is.

The driving factor here, is time. I have two months left to get this done, and the more I don’t work on it, the more it’s going to feel like I’m taking three or more classes, towards the end of those two months.

Realistically, I need to submit an average of at least two essays a week — probably more, now that I’ve wasted two weeks being sick, and catching up on work I didn’t do while I was sick. But I’m only taking one other class; I have time if I have motivation.

The big thing about it is getting back into an academic mode, as versus a vacation mode. The good thing about being in Collection Development concurrently is that the second class is structured, and forces me to get out of bed and engage.

I’ve just taken a look at my ePortfolio, and I’ve realized that any foundational work that I can get done on any Competency, will be good. This is because it makes things vastly less intimidating when I’m not looking at a blank form. And I can always update and edit work that is there.

The other thing that has happened is that I’m using one of my memberships which I have heretofore ignored. It’s encouraging the direction of my energy towards Librarianship, though it also can be a time sink: I spent two days authoring something to help someone. That’s time I could have used, working on my ePortfolio. But it did help. It really helped me, too.

I have realized that I would be a very good fit for a Public (or Academic) Library position. One of my papers is on the intersections of Social Justice, Civil Rights, and Intersectional Feminism, and I found myself shifting back into that mode and speaking on diversity issues. Now I’m involved. 🙂 Ruh-roh. 😉

I have realized, however: I’m a very good candidate as a Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, or American Studies scholar, as versus or in addition to having possibilities towards Japanese-language/-diaspora Special Collections, and the possibility of becoming an Art Librarian. I’m thinking, though, that Gender Studies…might be more interesting, and might help the world, more. And I’m not convinced that I need to go back to my alma mater for it.

I still remember someone there saying that I couldn’t have an opinion on gender identity unless I had read Foucault, first. Which is just elitist hogwash. I kind of know something about gender identity, from, you know, having engaged with and lived the problem. Did he? (On that note, I probably don’t even need a degree in Gender Studies to be knowledgeable in the field. I’ve done Master’s level research. I’m in Library Science. I’ve written papers. I have some knowledge of Social Science. I have a grounding in Feminism. My fundamental grasp of the topic is apparent. I can deal with it.)

In comparison…the Web Design stuff is looking unimportant. Weirdly. Though right now I would likely have to work in either general Reference or Technical Services, given my skill set. I want to and may need to extend my reach deeper into Information Organization, however. That includes re-taking Cataloging.

Coming up…I will very shortly have an interview with a Collection Manager, and I need to read Chapter 4 in preparation for that (and I have been advised to read it more than once)…though this week’s Module just now opened up. Chapter 4 is just 30 pages, though — not a problem. I could get the first run-through done tomorrow, if I needed to.

I’m still waiting to hear back from my contact, though; I’m not even sure this will follow through. I might have to interview someone in a different system. Maybe I should get the contact information of an alternate person, from work.

Speaking of which, I’ve gotta be there in the morning. Maybe I should get some sleep and stop running myself into the ground. 🙂

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The curse of having scruples…will I eventually become a librarian specializing in Japanese language?

One more day, down. Instead of reading in my sashiko book at lunch, I ended up doing some research on the path of Web Design, and to what extent Web Design includes or implies Marketing work. I did this at work because I have little chance of infecting the work computers, whereas I want my home computer to continue to function!

I found a lot about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which I would need to pay attention to if I became a Web Designer (and wanted to stay one).

However, the upshot for me is that it appears Digital Marketing is not the same thing as Web Design. And Web Design is a subset of Web Development, but also not exactly the same thing.

I started doing research on this because I realized that the idea that Web Design would have me doing Marketing work was just an assumption…so I decided to test it.

The bright side is that my assumption seems to be false. The other side — but one which I’d have to deal with in any job — is that I may not agree with my clients or with what I am helping them sell. Integrity is a major issue, with me, and it’s a reason I’m in my current Library job — and not working for a for-profit institution. Not that working for profit is necessarily bad, but I’m thinking there is likely a different way of thinking about what we’re doing, and why.

It’s one thing to build collections which respond to the needs of the community (thus enabling them to educate themselves and act on that education, knowing full well that their journey is their own); it’s another to manipulate people into doing something. The latter may not be much of an issue with sales, where someone is actually looking to spend money; however, it would be an issue with what that firm I’d be helping, does with the money they would gain because of my help, and it would be a major issue in political arenas.

I don’t know if that counts as a holistic, systemic or ecological view…but I doubt I’ll lose it.

I also think that it’s a really good idea to learn Japanese language and go into a library which has Asian Languages special collections. It’s closer and likely more…I don’t know, satisfying, I think, than going through the trouble of an Art program would be, for me.

On top of this, I could deal with helping manage a Library website (which is something I can get behind and [mostly] authentically support). That would give me training in supporting a Web project…which, if I’m being honest, I mostly want skills in so that I can build awesome(r) stuff online. Doing it as the main part of my job is something else.

I had to get my priorities and future pathway straight in my mind before I could work really hard on my ePortfolio. I was asked to think about my end point, and am feeling much more secure in that, now. So I want to learn Japanese language, possibly go for a Japanese Languages and Literatures MA or PhD, and become a Japanese Collections specialist! Awesome!

I mean seriously, that would be totally sweet…the thing is, I’d probably end up being an Academic Librarian with this path, or a Public Librarian in a place with a large Japanese-reading or -diasporic population…hmm.

(I could also work at a Japanese bookstore…or, eventually, as a book translator…)

Getting to what has to be done.

I really need to stop posting at 2 in the morning (I say at 1 in the morning: I started writing, around 11 PM). Sorry about the lack of coherence of my last post; I didn’t have a lot of time to edit it, and had been mulling over a backlog of posts for a while, likely hours. Long enough for my mind to start falling asleep, apparently.

Since I have time now, it would probably be better to do this a little earlier in the evening, or hold onto the drafts for 24 hours to allow for editing, before publication…so I don’t have to worry about posting at 3 AM with my mind not all there.

I also didn’t have enough time to get together even the basics for work, this morning. I thought I had brought nothing to eat on break (what I brought was breakfast), but then I found an unopened pack of trail mix in my purse. I didn’t eat it, but it was comforting to have. Still, though, I didn’t have time to pick a sketchbook in addition to grabbing the Monolith sticks, so I wasn’t able to draw during my lunch hour.

What I did do, today at lunch, was take another typing test. I needed to verify my WPM in preparation for a job application. The latter is done now, so I don’t have to worry about it, anymore. Maybe I should have included a cover letter, but I don’t think I’ll absolutely need it. I was more worried about actually decreasing my chances of getting a job by writing a messed-up or ill-considered cover letter under time pressures…

Though I really didn’t need to turn it in, so soon. I have just been worried that the hiring call would close early, due to so many applicants.

But it’s one thing off the table. The next thing is getting the content of my portfolio started, which I can do easily once I transfer my files. I’ve just got to remember that nothing needs to be set in stone, at this point. So there’s no penalty for going ahead and starting.

The big fear is that I won’t have the evidence I need, but even if that’s so, it’s still to my benefit to get started, early. At least I’ll know where I stand, and I can try and make up the deficiency while I still have the time to study and write.

And it will give me something to do if and/or when I decide that I need to stop with the arts and crafts. It might be good to get back to something, academic. Or that matters most urgently, you know. Maybe the difficulty I have is with balancing my wants and needs. Or with…studying and making. And I don’t know which is more important, sometimes.

Today was a good day, at work. It actually made me want to go in, more. It helps that I have someone to talk to about art stuff. It also helps to have a sense of upward mobility. And purpose. You know. There is a purpose — for the library, and for me — to my staffing Circulation, even if I’m not a Clerk and not being paid Clerk wages.

It also helps to know that my final semester won’t be the end of my learning; continuing education is expected for librarians. And if I’m getting paid paraprofessional wages, I can afford to go to classes, in order to hone skills for my future path(s).

I think that part of the problem I’m having is that I have way too much free time and way too much that I want to do, in that free time. If I were working a 40-hour week, there would be no way I could even consider doing as much as I’m trying to do. With the amount of technology in use, I wonder about how much less time people spend working, than we were built to. It’s just not…it doesn’t seem to my advantage, to have so much time.

Which is ironic, based on how many of my posts are about trying to assign how much time, to which projects. There’s just so much to do. So much I could do.

Since I was little, so much of my education has been about my keeping my options open. Maybe that pattern is working against me, now.

I do think that mathematical and logical thought, aren’t the most pleasant ways for me to spend my time, though! I mean, judging from my experiences in several of my classes. I think I’m more of an Arts and Humanities person.

I guess that’s a good thing to know. It’s a step towards focusing, that is…

Validating existence.

I have finally realized what my reasoning is to check my blog several times a day (when I’m able to). As long as I’m creating things, I have proof that I exist, and that something has changed because of my existence.

In other words: I’m making at least a small bit of difference in the world. Thus I am at least somewhat fulfilled in staying alive. So…it actually could be the case that on some level I do believe that I have survived in order to produce.

I am not totally sure this is the explanation, but with me it is easy to lose touch with reality, and this is my way of grounding myself. It’s kind of like looking at myself when I pass reflective surfaces…to remind myself that I have a physical form, and of what it looks like.

It’s easy for me to lose touch with my own embodiment, otherwise: sometimes I forget that I look like something to other people (and that what I look like isn’t what I imagine myself to be). Let alone forgetting that I have a body that needs to be maintained…I am much more centered in the worlds of ideas (and dreams) than in the physical one. I think the Art and the Writing bridge this, for me.

Although I’ve reached the point where I’m not constantly looking at my own blog to see my most recent writings (really, it’s boring when you’ve read it three times and you’re looking for development and the entries keep repeating information), I do find myself constantly wanting to see new material that I’ve hashed out, and almost always falling short of that mark. Because…it’s scary to create.

I love creating, but I also find it terrifying, before jumping in. No matter what is said, someone somewhere is going to take issue with it. That’s just part of the deal. The alternative is to change nothing, “leave no footprints,” as it were, like I’m an alien obeying the Prime Directive. (And yes, during that “Indigo Children” phase of the early 2000’s, I did qualify as Indigo. If we’re not careful I’ll start taking this seriously.) But even then, passivity is its own demon, and everyone I know who doesn’t forge their own path…has handed over the reins of power in their own life to something or someone else.

I have realized that, at least after I graduate, it will be easier to have time to read and write — and draw, if I want to. Right now I am unfocused. I have so many directions in which I could go and so many directions in which I’ve started to go, that I’m not really going much of anywhere, it seems. I start and then stop; I get distracted by other things I could do.

The good part of this is that I have a route into the Library world, which feels as though it will provide ample opportunity to be exposed to the work of others. I’m still not sure if I want to be a Reference Librarian — it’s seriously intense work with people — though the primary other options are working in Technical Services (this includes Web Design and Development) or Cataloging. If I did do Reference, it would be likely that I would be called upon to do Reader’s Advisory, too, which would get me reading Fiction again (though not necessarily the Fiction I want to read).

What I’m thinking I would also be able to do, however, would be managing Circulation. Right now I’ve been working Circulation for about seven years. I don’t want to step out of my role as a worker to try and run things in my current position (I have a Supervisor, after all), but at the same time it’s really obvious to me where things are breaking down.

I’ve gotten to the point where at least I feel like I am one of the people who gets the most done, on my shifts. This is probably why I keep being sorted to staff the desk instead of shelve. When I’m shelving, I’m finding myself taking too much extra time fixing the shelves (books out of order on the shelves! people taking the books out of order and then leaving them lying around!) as versus putting what’s on my cart, on the shelf, and leaving the shelf in **** condition.

See, this is what I mean about getting distracted. I was writing about getting back to creating, particularly in creative writing. BUT, at least the above distraction has a potential monetary gain if followed through, which could sustain me — physically.

Right now…what I want to do is write. But I know that I’ll be writing ****** first drafts, and there is not the instant gratification that one gets when one blogs.

Maybe I could balance it: work part time on the blog and part time at writing creatively…

YUS!

heyyyy. I got my paper turned in on time!

Despite my recent surprise at having mysteriously gained a couple of pounds (it was likely from two donuts, two ice cream bars, and juice over the past week — my metabolism is wrecked on Prozac)…I went and got some ice cream after work today.

It was THAT BAD, YO. I got a double scoop. it was THAT EFFING BAD. I’m like is this actually half a pint of ice cream? How the **** much ice cream is this–

I knew I was comfort-eating (in addition to dealing with crashed blood sugar), but I also knew that the ice cream would give me a break from my anxiety and allow me some time to collect myself. What I didn’t bet on was that it would keep digesting for a really long time (it’s still in there, not kidding). Because it takes so long to get into my system, the fat in the ice cream leveled off my blood sugar (unexpectedly). Now I may weigh three extra pounds tomorrow, or have stupid high blood lipid levels tonight, but I just need to exercise. Trying to manage my weight just by diet is going to make me angry.

(What’s weird is that it actually calmed me down, which I expected; but the calm continued way after I ate it. But I was working out a strategy to attack this paper, on the way home.)

Amazingly, yesterday I went 1.75 miles on the exercise bike (15 minutes), and my legs ARE NOT SORE. (I don’t know how.) Which means I can probably do a lot more than I think I can. (I should probably start stretching before going on the bike, too, as well as after; torn ACLs are not something to envy. Speaking of which, now that I look it up, an ACL isn’t in the same place as I thought…)

I don’t talk about it a lot here, but I’m vulnerable to blood sugar crashes, where I start feeling awful and thinking unclearly, if I don’t eat enough of the right things at the right times. Apparently, I didn’t eat enough in the morning, or at break, or at lunch…I did eat, I guess it just wasn’t enough.

So today I was super stressed out about having to write the paper I just turned in, anyway, because I didn’t think I’d make it in on time (and was planning to tough it out until 3 AM)…then there is my group project (which I’m behind on), and then a study guide I have to make. On top of that, I’m going to need to record an oral presentation within the next week. But the PAPER THAT WAS WORTH 25% OF MY GRADE IS NOW TURNED IN. Gah.

And I think I got a B, but anyway…it’s not a C. It would fit in with the rest of my grades, in that class.

So now I can concentrate on my group project, which isn’t terrible, especially as I volunteered to do data entry (I am not confident in my ability to implement databases, anymore). Can I take a back seat with this project? Can I actually give myself permission not to lead the intellectual work of this project?

It’s not something I’m used to.

But, let’s see…tomorrow I can get back on listening to the lectures, and work on what I’m going to present in my oral presentation (the scenario for which, I have to look up, still). If I get bored, I can start working on my Research Guide, but I think what I’ve mentioned will be enough.

And — and — I have remembered why I took the Digital Services pathway: because I wanted to get foundational skills in Web Publishing. Cataloging wouldn’t have focused on this. And it would have trapped me with skills only relevant in Library Science.

Seems like a lot of my life revolves around production and publishing, though…(informal as that may be, right now)…Art, English, blogging, Japanese, Web Design…

That is what I wanted to get out of it, even though Cataloging might be more practical (even if old).

Yeah, I’m starting to sound like a Young Adult, now…I wonder if it’s ever permissible to have an aspiration to be like the next generation…

Tired again.

Right now I’m having a bit of a time with wanting to post and not wanting to sit at my computer. Apparently, my old tablet was able to be fixed, but I’m also not working on that, either.

I have a lot to do over the next week, and I’m not really happy about it. I only have four weeks to go in the semester, however. It just feels like I’m wasting my life by planning for the rest of it…but that’s about how I felt through all of high school. It’s also apparent that what I am doing is likely the most valuable thing I can be doing right now.

I just really hate group projects. Not to mention that I’m not comfortable in Database Management and feel like I’m slacking because I’m a week behind (largely due to a month full of family visitations — which can be nice, but they take up resources of time and energy).

And…politics are a bit scary. But the only way I’m involved is by existing and living a normal life, so…

(said every commoner under a tyrant ever)

I also did get curious/fatigued enough to look at my watercolor lightfastness chart. I REALLY REALLY should not use Alizarin Crimson! It’s been about four months since I put that thing in the sun. (Aureolin is still going strong.) The Crimson has just…noticeably faded. I checked that one (as a known fugitive pigment) to see if anything had faded at all. It’s kind of shocking.

After the next week is over, I can try and post some images. I was looking over my backposts and I realized I really, really miss working with color.

Maybe I’ll start looking at tutorials online like I’ve seen others doing, to help me with subject matter and looseness.

Otherwise…I’ve got to go to work tomorrow, and am not sure if it is an additional stressor, or a relief from stress. (Is it procrastination to go to work when you have unfinished assignments?)

I’m also questioning whether I should have stayed in Cataloging despite almost bombing my Beginning Cataloging class (which is the only grade I’ve got at this point which is not some version of A). The thing is, I can’t use Cataloging outside of a library system, whereas I can use Digital Services skills in Web Development and Web Design (which is where I think I want to be…it just may be much more lucrative to be a Librarian).

I am just really hoping that not all Web Development is as math-based as my Database Management class…I work well with languages, but logic problems are a different thing. I should be able to find out whether I picked the wrong path in Intro to Programming, though…and I only have one month left of this semester.

And come Fall, if all goes well, it should be my last semester.

I have a feeling I would be good in Collection Development, too…

Refresh

I’m writing right now because I feel the need to. What comes out may or may not have to do with the two hours I spent observing at Reference in a local library today. There’s just something that has to come out. I don’t know what it is, yet.

Reference was a mixture of dull and hectic. I went in not knowing to expect, and aware of my nervousness. The thing is, nervousness can easily be retranslated into excitement, I think: it just has to do with the way the energy is directed. I could expect bad things to happen, or good things to happen…

Because I was working with a pair of librarians instead of one, this made it very difficult to concentrate on what one or the other was doing at any given time. My attention was divided, and I don’t think I gave the absolute best impression (as I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing in the first place, having forgotten to either print out or bring the assignment description).

This is likely compounded by the fact that I’m socially awkward just generally, miss social cues, and don’t realize when I’m unintentionally giving off social cues. I don’t really figure this out until after the fact, though, because I’m not thinking about it at the time.

What was really weird: during the course of the two hours I spent at the desk, I ran into three people I knew from other venues. One was my supervisor back when I was a volunteer, one I knew from community college, and one was Manager of Public Services, whom I had interviewed before.

I went in being concerned that the same thing would happen as did when I got my first experience out of the gate as a volunteer for a local community library: that is, that someone would try to get me to do what I was not there to do, or would try to get into my life in a way that was unwelcome. This didn’t happen, though, which is relatively amazing.

The observation assignment was this morning; after that was a trip to the produce market, to get a tea and pastry (I didn’t eat breakfast), and then back home.

Once I was home, I started working on the other major assignment for this class, which is answering a large number of Reference questions of my choice, using a variety of sources. I’ve figured out that it is related to a reading assignment given a few weeks ago, which I had forgotten about — until I looked back in my Bullet Journal and saw that I had neither completed nor forwarded this task.

Luckily, though, I was able to strategize, and am now confident that I’ll be able to knock out a good number of these questions in the next week and a half. I have wiggle room in my GPA, so I don’t have to be perfect.

The (minor) trouble is that I’m supposed to be recording how long it takes me to answer each question, and right now I’m still flipping around in my book doing readings which greatly simplify finding the answers. This is reading which I was supposed to be doing a while back, and just didn’t.

Now I have pointers which say where to look and what to look for, out of these approximately 500 pages. And that was caused by my taking time out to write down all the chapters and align the questions I had picked, with said chapters (in order to prioritize my reading). That was not wasted time.

Now that I’m reading parts of the chapters (instead of trying to force my way through them by reading everything in order), I am finding other questions which are easier to answer than some of the ones I’ve picked out. This is a good thing. They didn’t look easier, but with a knowledge base, they are.

The thing is, I’ve been skipping around from question to question when I can’t move forward on one or another, and that isn’t really conducive to timing myself, but it is conducive to the way I work, and it is conducive to the way I saw people working, today.

Given that the actual work of answering the questions will be much more labored if I don’t read first, I think it’s also not wasted time to do the reading (or at least, parts of it) before attempting to solve the problems.

So…I’ve been doing that, especially as I realized that my major Instructional Design deliverable isn’t due for a couple more days (not yesterday, like I thought — I should just get it out of the way, though; I have an idea of how to tackle it). On top of that, this Professor doesn’t mind resubmissions for full grades, so I don’t need to stress if I get something wrong, or if my ideas aren’t fully formed.

After that, I have two more chapters to go in Database Management before I’ll be caught up, there. I will, however, have to listen to (and read) the next week’s material, and soon: but there isn’t a group deliverable this time around, so it’s just my grade hanging in the balance. Which is a nice change — especially, as I can use accommodations if I need them.

This is actually looking doable, now, and it’s only about to be Friday. Tomorrow I’ll have a full day off, and will be able to devote time to this, which sounds really good.

I didn’t really realize it, but maybe things do get energized when I deal with other people. I had mentioned that I’m not even sure if I’m a, “people person,” because there have been so many mitigating circumstances in my life, but…I know Reference work is looking possible to me, now. Even though I normally shy away from people. Structured interactions are different from unstructured ones.

As M said when I spoke to her about this, not everyone who works Reference is a, “people person,” but it just might help. 🙂