...and then the semester was over

posted Dec 18, 2011, 2:48 PM by jj pionke
I can't believe it's Christmas.  Where did this semester go?  I am in the bewildering state of how did time pass so quickly?  How did I get here?  My first semester at the University of Michigan is over and I find myself....bereft I guess is a good term.  My semester ended with a whimper.  I didn't really have much to do for it.  I had grading, some small papers, one take home test.  I finished other projects and what not weeks ago.  This end of term has been the least stressful that I have had in, well, years.  This isn't a complaint mind you.  

Still, a good learner sits back and does a bit of reflecting on how things went with whatever they are working on.  I think the semester went pretty well.  I know that my grades are good. I'll know for sure by the end of this week what they are, but I wouldn't be surprised by straight As or As and a B.  I've never been a great student, but now as a teacher, I am much more aware of things like directions and deadlines.  I found that as long as I followed both, I did fairly well.

That said, I know my work ethic was much different this time than the last round of grad school.  I did the work and more importantly, I WANTED to do it.  I am here for a reason.  I recently was talking to an acquaintance about feeling torn over my career.  I was all, I came here for academic librarianship but I really like preservation of information and are taking a bunch of those classes next semester, and I just don't know what to do in regards to my career.  Do I stay on this path or do I start to diversify and try to find a different path?  Whatever I do, I have to make a decision now.  There won't be time later to change my mind and I will need the summer internships to bolster my experience so I can get a job when I graduate.  Her response to all of this was pretty much just to laugh and say that it was good to hear me excited, if at odds, with what I wanted to do next.  She also said that sometimes we just have too many options.

I think she is right.  There are too many options.

I really enjoyed my computer class and I have been toying with taking the next class in the series.  On the other hand, if I did that, I would absolutely have to drop a class I am taking next semester and heaven's know what that would be.  More advanced computer skills would certainly help me in my quest for a job once I graduate, but I'm not good at programming.  I just don't think like a programmer.  I probably need to let this go and focus on other skill sets.

This semester has been about options.  Which classes to take.  How to GSI.  To continue to teach online or not for the schools back home.  It's been about more opportunities than I have had in far too long.

My mother asked me around week three of the semester or so, how I felt about being here.  I told her it felt like my brain was awake and it still does.  I feel re-energized in a way that I haven't felt in so long that this is a new feeling.  I feel like the world is my oyster, to quote a cliche.  I don't know how things will turn out but I know that they will turn out fine.  I have faith in that and faith in myself.

I'll figure out what to do about the career thing.  Maybe the best course of action is to split the opportunities that I have.  The internships will be about librarianship and the Alternative Spring Breaks (ASB) will be about whatever tickles my fancy....and that's ok. I am here in this amazing place, I might as well enjoy every moment I can and learn all the things that I want to even if they don't necessarily fit into a specifically designed schedule of courses.  It's hard not to be aware of time.  I only have three semesters left and then I will be back into the world.  Still, I have no doubt that I will be a very different person when I graduate.  Grad school does that to you. I'm already different and I know I will continue to change and that's a good thing.

So yes, first semester was a success.  I have another GSI for next semester.  I got into all of my first choice classes.  I know that this coming semester will be more challenging than the last one and I am looking forward to it.  In the meantime, in the very very short break that I have (winter term starts Jan 4th), I will clean up from this semester and start prepping for the next one.  I will also go home, eat mom's cooking, do free laundry, and play Zelda (finally).
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