Turns out getting information from admissions people (especially around exam time) takes a lot more time than I thought. I honestly hoped I’d be able to definitively say which degree program I’d be working on in the fall by the end of this week. I’ve essentially made up my mind, I’m just waiting for final confirmation that the coursework will still work with the MLS and a chance to look over the official offer. Apparently this process requires a lot of patience and a LOT of emails – something I’m not particularly good at. Any type of business email scares me, but a business email to someone whom I’ve only met twice is absolutely terrifying! Even the barest 2 paragraph email generally takes a good hour to write and send, because I have to compulsively re-read what I’ve written 15-20 times to make sure nothing could possibly cause offense or make me sound stupid. Sometimes I have someone else read it, and then I revise and read it again myself… and STILL I have to close my eyes and cross my fingers as I hit send!
Aside from the emails, I think I’m doing as well as can be expected. I think I have Senior-itis in reverse – now that I’ve decided I’m going I want to just go and GET THERE ALREADY! I’m getting more and more antsy at work, finding myself daydreaming about a color scheme for my apartment or what I want to do for my dissertation or even just who I might meet at school. I even caught myself planning MEALS one time – it’s still four months away, a little premature don’t you think, self?!
That said, I think my subconscious is more stressed out about this than I realize. I’m not sleeping particularly well, and I keep having these “I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING” nightmares just about every night. For example, a few nights ago, I found myself in an Emergency Room, left alone with a patient who was dying (rather bloodily I might add – I don’t like blood when it comes from other people!) and a bunch of nurses and doctors watching from outside the room telling me I had to save him without their help. I think I woke myself up before he actually died but I was in tears in the dream because the man would die from my lack of medical knowledge!
At least in the waking world I feel like I’m ready – Let’s get started already!
This is the boring part: the waiting. Currently I’m sitting in a Panera in a city about 4 hours away from home, waiting for my dad to show up with the car (cause he refuses to get with this century and buy a cell phone. I know.) But hey! I have internet and can write up a post!
This week’s adventure:
Actually this week there were two. Adventure number 1:
Last Friday I got a phone call from the university that my application was “highly qualified” for the degree that I’d asked for, so they wanted to know if I would like to move up – instead of doing an MA in Musicology, I’d skip directly to getting a PhD, almost fully funded for the entire time I was there. Oh and if I could manage it, they wanted a decision in THREE DAYS! *cue immediate freak out*
After several phone calls and discussions, I made it pretty clear that I hadn’t even thought about a PhD program yet, and there was no way to make a decision involving at least 2 extra years of my life in three days. They agreed to let me think about it some more, and I’ve spent the entire week trying to get into contact with those who would be able to give me more information, both on what this would mean in the short term and what it would do for my career in the long term. I was able to meet with two separate people this weekend while I was there apartment hunting and ask lots of questions about what the program would be like etc. The main factor for me is the research – apparently the MA I was looking at has little to no research involved and continuing my research is very important to me. So, as long as we figure out a way that I can take the PhD and still do the MLS, I think I’m going to do it. EEP!
Adventure number 2 was finding housing. I had to wear big girl pants all week, calling all these apartment places and asking for showings, and it was scary. I almost wish I’d had the opportunity to apartment shop while I was doing my undergrad – I imagine it’s a little easier to apartment hunt when you’ve lived in the town where you’re looking and I would have appreciated a little experience in it before jumping in both feet first. But, after 10 showings, ranging from so teeny you could stand in the middle and touch both sides to incredibly spacious, from absolute dump on the wrong side of town to so hoity toity I couldn’t afford it, we found “the perfect” place! It’s walking distance to groceries, school and several other things, and even though it’s in the middle of a shopping area I got a unit on the back that looks out on some trees and is back off the road. I also have an upper neighbor who’ll be bringing a grand piano so I’ll be near some students in the same college at least.
Every step I get closer makes it seem more real, and yet I still can’t quite believe I’m finally getting to move out permanently. There’s so much to do!
My life is about to go crazy. For those of you who don’t know (which, if you’ve met me online at all, is NONE of you) I’m going back to school in the fall after 2 years off to contemplate life, the universe and everything (okay, maybe just MY part of those things). In that time, I’ve built a presence online as best I can, made some incredible friends, and kind of dropped out of the IRL social scene. Reintegrating into “real” society is going to be a major process for me, and that’s something I’d like to have a record of somewhere. And so, “That’s Life” was born – a weekly feature for me to share with you the trials and tribulations of becoming a Music Librarian.
The story so far:
Where does one start if one wants to be a Music Librarian? With research, of course! I decided (after a lot of wishy-washy back and forth) I wanted to pursue this in November 2011, and immediately began to research what schools would allow such a thing. The Music Librarian’s Association website was incredibly helpful – they list all schools that offer anything remotely resembling a Music Librarianship course, along with each school’s requirements and a little explanation on what those requirements mean. It was a LIFESAVER. I could easily find which schools allowed my kind of program and which encouraged it – there is a difference! I quickly narrowed it down to a few top schools, a fairly easy process since there are only 3 in the US that support a fully combined program.
I also made a point of interviewing the head librarian at our University’s music collection. It just so happens that she was once placement officer for the national Music Librarian’s Association and talking to her was a big help! She told me that I’d probably lose almost 50% of my job choices if I only got a Masters of Library Science (MLS) with a music specialization – the way to go was clearly an MLS with a Masters in Music History (MA), and most of the deadlines for those were about a week after I made my decision (EEP!) or had already passed. I tried to apply to the MLS degrees anyway, figuring I could just add a second Masters once I got there. And you know what I got? A whole bunch of rejection. It just didn’t work. The one or two places I did get in I couldn’t afford to go, and the music Masters programs were so competitive I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get in later.
And so, I deferred (Graduate Student applicants: YOU CAN DO THAT! It is not a binary choice of “Accept” or “Decline”!). I spent a year working on my application. I got all of my materials ready as early as possible, and I sent all of them in as close to on-time as I could. There were some bugs, and I honestly think I was rejected at one school because of a computer glitch (my writing sample didn’t upload right, it didn’t tell me, and there was no way to fix it. Really?). But the main thing is that this is a huge “hurry up and wait” game. Nothing happens fast.
The short version? I got into the school I wanted, and I am headed off to begin my career in the fall! I can’t wait to share the experience with you!
Come back next Friday for further adventures in becoming a Librarian!
Last weekend, my family and I took a vacation to Washington D.C. I may not be the best photographer in the world, but what I lack in quality, I make up for in quantity!
We’ve been to DC quite a bit to visit family etc, so we skipped going in. Instead, we went to the Smithsonian of the Native Americans.
We had some AWESOME Native American inspired food that I was too busy eating to think to take pictures of it.
Then, the next day, we went to a place called The Hillwood Museum. You’ve heard of Post Cereal? Well, the heiress to that fortune liked to collect things, and when she died they turned it into a museum. There’s all these beautiful plates and figurines, and even two real Faberge eggs!
And THEN there were the rooms themselves! There was one completely devoted to concerts/theatre and it had a beautiful piano.
Wouldn’t you love to have a movie room (and a PIANO) like that?!
I may work in the dungeon with no windows, but as with any deep dark hole there’s always some treasure to be found! If you want a refresher on what I do, see this post.
I have a veritable rainbow of colors to share with you this week! Everything from blue to yellow, pastels to translucent neon and even clear…
To the multicolored and tie-dyed…
An Apple a day…
Aaaaaaaand… STAR WARS! (There was an Ewok on the other side, but that picture wasn’t nearly as clear)
When asked to describe myself, the first word that comes to mind, academically at least, is perfectionist. It runs in the family, though I’m not sure where exactly I got it from. Maybe it was just that I got a lot of praise when I got things right. My parents were all about making me work and think for myself. They had me reading on my own by the time I was 3 or 4, and I was signing my name in cursive in first grade (though I do remember asking them to teach me that, so maybe the perfectionism was ingrained by then).
Then again maybe it’s my young years as a musician. Music is a precise art, one that focuses on “right answers” versus “wrong answers” very early on. Before you can get to the expression part of being a musician, you have to learn how to read the notes, rhythms, dynamics, tempi and various other markings correctly. I hated practicing because I thought I could never get everything “right” – I just wanted to play beautiful music. It’s not that I’m saying that music shouldn’t be so perfectionist. I once heard a piece called 98% where students were encouraged to play deliberate mistakes, so that the piece would be played 98% correctly. In most school systems that’s an extremely high passing grade, but the piece sounded AWFUL!
No matter what the cause, I spent most of my school years believing I had to be the best at everything I tried. I was that kid who thought she was failing if she got a B in ANY subject (I had a 3.99 GPA at the end of high school and I still kind of hate the biology teacher who gave me the single overall B on my record). But the older I get, the more I realize this perfectionist attitude is a curse. You would not believe the number of hobbies I started, “didn’t get” (read: didn’t get it RIGHT on the first try) and gave up on. My sketchbook for example – I have a few friends who are incredibly good at drawing things and I get SO JEALOUS. So I bought myself a sketchbook and some supplies and tried it. I did okay as long as I was copying a picture, and I had several ideas for pictures I wanted to draw freehand, but nothing ever turned out the way I wanted to. I still pull it out every once in a while, but for the most part it languishes in my “projects” basket untouched. Same with knitting and cross-stitch projects – I have about 5 or 6 projects started that I gave up on because I messed up and didn’t feel like going back and unpicking to do it right (nevermind that I was probably the only one who would notice in the end.)
My perfectionism extends beyond my own personal projects, though. If I say I’m going to do something for someone, I cannot NOT do the job to the best of my ability. In the job I held before my current position, I was the sole employee at a very small chocolate factory. Technically my job description only extended so far as making products and selling them. But, because there was no-one else to do it (the boss wasn’t good with details) I ended up managing the production schedule, the grocery lists and the organization of the store. I took a lot of extra work on myself, and then on top of that, a lot of pressure to not only make sure these extra jobs were done, but that they were done perfectly. At the end of a typical day, my boss would compliment me on my work, while I would be mentally making a list of all the things I hadn’t done.
I’m trying to train myself out of that extreme perfectionist mentality, and one of the things that has been a big help with that is blogging. There is NO RIGHT WAY to blog, and there never will be. So, thanks for reading my therapy guys! I really appreciate it.
Earlier this week in my post On Being an Introvert, I talked about my job in the basement of the library. This is a huge part of my life right now, so I took a few pictures to share with you!
This is the room I work in. Just so you have an idea, I’m standing 10-12 feet from the wall behind the camera, and the point where the lights obscure everything way in the back is the far wall – this place is HUGE! And it is completely filled with old LPs – 7 inch 45s and 78s, and 12 inch 33 1/3s and 45s. I can’t even begin to guess how many records are down there, and ALL OF THEM are uncatalogued. [My supervisor would probably appreciate me telling you that the room is locked 24/7 and it is therefore impossible to just walk in and steal these rare LPs. As if anyone besides a library still has a working turntable to play them on!]
Which brings us to my job. I’ve been hired to catalog as many of the 12 inch records as possible. The shelving bank you see above is the first of 14 of that size LP. It won’t even all fit in the same picture! That many records was approximately 2 months worth of work, at 30 hours per week – And they’re ALL in the A’s! It’s an incredibly daunting task – I’ve estimated it would take 375 8-hour shifts to catalog just the records that are already on the shelves in catalog order! Nevermind the thousands stacked along the walls and in boxes everywhere! But on the upside, working with all this old and rare vinyl means I find some pretty cool stuff sometimes.
One of the things they could do with LPs that they can’t really do with CDs is use colored vinyl. I get a lot of interesting colors as you can see from above. A lot of them are translucent too – I’ve even had a few on clear vinyl which is a bit of a trip, let me tell you! And all of the records in these pictures PLAY MUSIC (though I haven’t personally tested them to be 100% sure they aren’t scratched or anything.
While some of the records are rare because of their content, or their format, every once in a while I’ll come across one that is rare because of the accompanying material – like this one, which had a handwritten note in it from the artist! It wasn’t an artist I recognized, unfortunately, but it’s still pretty cool!
And then, every once in a VERY LONG while, I’ll come across a record that will absolutely make my day! This is what’s called a “picture disc” – a rare LP, printed with a special picture right across the vinyl. While these picture discs ARE play-able, it isn’t recommended anymore, because the needle running through the grooves may damage the picture.
So, that’s just a little about what I do. Pretty cool, huh?