UMSI: Visiting Days

I’m breaking away from my usual running talk to share a bit more about my #futurelibrarian adventure. In order to be a librarian you must hold a Master of library science (MLS) degree. I’ve been accepted into University of Michigan’s School of Information (UMSI) where, this fall, I will begin working towards my degree. I’m super excited to be taking the first step in moving from my “library staff” position of the past 6 years to a professional position (even if that end result is so far away right now I can hardly see it!).

You might have seen this ‘gram from last weekend:

It's like the first day of school, but not. #visitingday #umsi #wolverines #futurelibrarian

A post shared by Heather (@running.shoe) on

I spent most of the weekend getting what I would describe as an in-depth overview on the School of Information. It was such a weird balance of information overload but also just restating basic information found on the program website. It was kind of exhausting, which is exactly how I remember school. The program actually continued into Monday, but I wasn’t able to get away from work to attend. Fortunately I was able to tap into my network of library professionals and added some private sessions to my calendar this week.

Saturday started with a brief welcome message from the Dean followed by information sessions covering the components of the degree and various opportunities for professional and community engagement. For the most part I am extremely happy that I took a break between undergrad and grad school, but it is kind of a bummer to know that I won’t get to apply to some of the engagement programs (I’m looking at you 9-week summer program in South Africa that I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to get time off for!).

Next we divided up into smaller groups based on our academic and career interests. The program covers everything from human-computer interaction to the preservation of information to library and information science. I chose the discussion on libraries and archives which seems to be the best fit for my interests. Each group had a panel of current students that we could question about the degree, classes, professors, life in Ann Arbor, etc. The evening wrapped up with dinner and then a choice of social events.

Sunday was another busy day, starting with breakfast at 9:00 and ending at 8:00 with pizza and board games. I did not stay for the entire day because I was exhausted and didn’t see the point in attending sessions on housing (I own a house here!) or getting a tour of campus (I work on campus!). The highlight of Sunday was getting to spend some time with the professors. Following breakfast was a series of mini lectures on various faculty research projects. We also got the opportunity to chat with faculty members and alumni during lunch. I really appreciated getting to engage with the professors in an informal setting.

After lunch I was really dragging so I opted to attend two more sessions (Financial Aid Info and Career Development) but skip the Alumni Panel. I already had plans made to get drinks with a handful of alums that are currently working at the library later that week and I figured I’d get the more out of my informal panel of librarians. I also reached out to a current graduate student who I knew through email-only and arranged to meet her for coffee to talk about the program. My networking game has really been on point.

Based on how exhausting this weekend felt, I really need to find some more energy before the fall semester starts. If I can hardly make it through 2 days of school events, how will I ever survive a full time job, part time classes, and a training schedule for the next 3-4 years?! I am relieved that my only goal race this fall is an early one (September 24) so the overlap will be minimal while I get back into the chaos of student life.

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6 thoughts on “UMSI: Visiting Days

  1. Your networking game IS on point, nice! I’m sure you were tired but this all sounds so exciting, as you are opening up a new chapter in your life.

    I’m sure school won’t be as exhausting as this weekend was, at least not after a while. You’ll get used to it, whereas this weekend was a step outside of your normal routine and activity level. New things and the first couple weeks of school/job are always a little hectic but then they become routine and you’ll be fine 🙂

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  2. What a long, exhausting but exciting weekend! I remember when I did my Master’s degree that there were lots of tough weekends like that but all of the networking and long hours paid off. Hearing about your experience with grad school is making me want to go back again… 🙂 Enjoy it!

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  3. Wow, sounds like a busy busy weekend! And while it will definitely be crazy adjusting to a new and crazy schedule in the fall, I think you will eventually find your routine after the initial adjustment period. Nothing is impossible to figure out – it will take some trial and error I’m sure but then you’ll find your balance. Good luck!

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