Choose Your Own Information Adventure Part 1

My post about the “why not?” people included mentioned of why I am more information than library with a promise to write about it. Well here it is.

Reasons I didn’t become a librarian

I love libraries. My childhood involved spending a lot of time in libraries – Woden Library, Moruya Library, Akrotiri army base library in Cyprus where we spent a few months, my primary school library, various libraries at the ANU (sometimes having a parent who is a mature aged student is a good thing!).

I love reading. Reading has been the one constant in my life and I love it. (But I don’t love the smell of books, new or old so please don’t send me cute memes about stinky books or perfume that smells like old books).

These reasons are not why I chose to study the Bachelor of Information Studies.

After completing a course at TAFE in community services, I figured out I’m not stupid and can actually study and finish a course. So, why not try a degree? I promptly enrolled in a Bachelor of Health Science majoring in Recreational Therapy and spent an engaging semester studying Sociology 101 and Leisure Studies 101 which I thoroughly enjoyed and surprised myself by writing essays that received really good marks (which as a terrible school student was the best feeling).

Information mining

Sometime during that first semester, we were given an assignment which involved navigating our way through the library databases to locate journal articles and books. I loved that assignment. Digging deeper into the databases to find information, I found myself trying to understand how the system worked, what happened if I looked for the article from this ‘direction’, what about that one? And a lightbulb moment occurred in my head that went something like “this would be a great job and imagine showing people how to use these systems, this is a part of libraries I’d never realised existed, maybe this is a better fit for me?”.

Honestly, that is what drove me to enquire about switching courses. At the time, I was learning that changing your mind is ok and I was aware that if the library degree didn’t work out, I could go back to health science or try something else. It really didn’t seem like that big a deal, there were plenty of choices and hey! I was going to try some of them out. I can’t emphasise enough what realising that study was achievable and wouldn’t end in humiliating disaster was for me at that time.

A side note about mature aged students

Mature aged students experience study very differently to those who are fresh out of school. Often on a second, third, fourth career, some of these students undergo a deep transformation during their study. I have experienced this myself and seen fellow students and friends go through it too. Many people don’t pursue tertiary study straight out of school for so many reasons – financial, fear of failure, terrible school experiences, timing, lack of opportunity. So if they do get that opportunity, OMG do they throw themselves into it! And if it means conquering demons, finally facing deeply held fears and beliefs about themselves, well let’s do that too.

My uni friends and I often joked that we should be receiving a Bachelor of Life degree as well as a Bachelor of Information Studies – the four of us conquered so much during those four years, much more than assignments and group projects.

Back to the story . . .

So I contacted the School of Information Studies and asked to switch courses. A very nice email advised me I could, so I did.

And just like that I had chosen my own information adventure.

Let’s leave this here. Part 2 tomorrow.

Different but the same

Yesterday involved delicious lunch with a friend. She is an artist with a day job and as we talked away I was reminded that even though we work in very different jobs and have different creative endeavours, our struggles are the same.

  • Missing a day of writing isn’t failing. It’s just . . . missing a day.
  • And blog posts don’t have to be shiny, amazingly thought out pieces of writing. This tweet was a timely reminder of that.
  • That action comes first. Sitting and waiting for inspiration to strike just leaves you sitting and waiting. Nothing actually happens. For my friend, she draws and draws and gradually it takes shape. For me, I write, usually in bullet points which teases out what I actually want to say (not what I think people want to hear).

And we also talked about things that are easy for her and not for me and vice versa. When we give each other advice or look for solutions together, there’s a focus on:

  • If you’ve got a big task, break it down into really small doable chunks. No-one said you have to organise all the files on your computer in one sitting. (And make them really small, like “make a new folder and move five files into it”). Then tick off list. Make tea.
  • Remember that not everyone is like you. What is easy and quick for me, is hard and complicated for someone else. So if you’re asked for advice, make it really simple.

Share your useful advice for creating or writing for #blogjune in the comments, I’d love to know what helps other people get stuff done.

The Standing at the Back Dressed Stupidly and Looking Stupid Party

My Twitter feed is full of UK election results and analysis and all I can think of is this.

ETA: I rest my case.