Work and school, school and work

When I enrolled in library school, I made some assumptions. One of those assumptions — wrong, like most of my assumptions — was that when one says that “nearly everyone in the program works full time,” one means in all sorts of jobs. I, perhaps foolishly, didn’t realize that 86% of library school students already work in libraries. (“Statistic” is a made up number not intended to bear any relationship to reality.)

So when I learned that half of the classes at school start at 4 pm, I was befuddled and bewildered. (And frustrated.) I work full-time. So do other students. So how is that so many people can make them work in their schedules?

It only took me three weeks into the second semester to realize it’s because¬†I’m the only one who works neither in a library nor in a public school. I’m not, to be completely honest; I met another “career changer” (to use her words) who still works in her HR job full time.

This explains the scheduling problem.

There is another issue of not working in a library while in library school: graduating without practical experience. I read this post on balancing work and school eagerly, hoping it would relate to the schedule issue above, but instead it just highlighted this other problem.

I’m already an attorney; is that experience enough to be hired as a law librarian out of library school? I already work for the District; if I want to switch to archives, is that experience enough to get a job in the District’s Office of Public Records? ¬†What if I want to work in an academic law library (currently at the top of my list)?

I’m interested to hear from other people who have been in similar situations. Did you work full-time in a field not related to your graduate studies while in graduate school? How did that affect your job search post-school?


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