Apparently, when I was a kid, I told my parents I wanted to be a librarian when I grew up, but I don’t remember that at all. I don’t even remember that I (supposedly) dressed up as a librarian for Career Night when I was in junior high.
But I do distinctly remember walking through the Wilkinson Center at BYU, seriously contemplating changing my major from Public Relations to History and wondering how I could justify doing so since the demand for bachelor degree level historians is slight, to say the least. There is a board of job postings in the Wilk, and I stopped to flip through them. The top one was for a library director. Under the requirements, it listed a Masters in Library Science from an ALA-accredited school.
Within a few days, I was spending all my free time at work going through the list of ALA accredited schools (there aren’t many) and looking at their programs.
I was immediately drawn to Simmons because they had a lovely website and it was in Boston. Also the classes looked amazing and they even offered a dual degree program with a Masters of Children’s Literature. Oh, it seemed amazing. And then I discovered that it would cost me in the neighborhood of forty grand. Hmm, less amazing.
The only other school that really spoke to me was the iSchool at the University of Texas at Austin. It was a top-ranked program with an unbelievably impressive faculty and low tuition for residents. And I could be a Texas resident after only a year.
But then I got married, and Bart’s career path seemed uncertain and there was no telling where we might end up. Six months into our marriage, with both of us anxious to get out of Utah (particularly me), Bart suggested we move to Austin. Cost of living was low, jobs were abundant, and I could go to school. Bart packed up the car and drove off, while I stayed behind to finish up school.
When we actually moved to Austin, though, I suddenly wasn’t so keen on graduate school. I was terrified of the GRE and even more terrified of being rejected from school. I had a job that I enjoyed and I backed off of the school idea. I stopped mentioning UT as a reason we’d moved to Austin. When the topic came up among those who knew, I said I just didn’t feel good about going and changed the topic.
Last spring, though, something changed overnight. I suddenly desperately wanted to get an MLS. I wanted it more than I feared the rejection or the GRE. I discovered that I could apply by the end of September and start in January of 2008.
I signed up for the GRE and bought a prep book. I started making vocab flash cards and going through them on the treadmill. I wrote my professors and asked for letters of recommendation. I wrote my statement of purpose and asked my father-in-law to review it. I faxed all my paperwork in at my office that didn’t know I was even considering school.
And then I waited and waited and waited. I checked the mailbox and the online site daily for six weeks until one day the website changed from “All of your materials are in” to “Congratulations on your acceptance to the University of Texas.”
I’m now nearly half way done with my program. I plan to graduate next May.
It’s been even better than I could have imagined. I’m surrounded by students that are interested in the same things as me, who love books and reading and literacy and libraries as much as I do. I get to see all the new children’s books that flood in for the 2008 Notable Children’s Book List. I read articles and write papers about things that excite me more than almost anything else. I look around and think there isn’t anywhere I’d rather be right now than in school, at this school, in this program.
I will always be glad I got over my fears. Victory tastes so very sweet.