Two Down, Ten To Go

It’s the end of the semester here at Simmons, and while classes officially end on Saturday the 17th, I am basically done. Last week, I handed in a paper in each of my classes (though I of course still have to go to class this week).

Overall, the semester was okay. I have this wonderful feeling that I have “found my people,” so to speak, and that this was the right move to make. Academically, I was disappointed — neither of my classes was as challenging as I had hoped, but such is life. It’s an interesting time in the Simmons program; there are some growing pains from increasing enrollment and a change from a 4- to 3-credit (per class) program. Some students got very vocal about their unhappiness, and one of my courses turned out to be a key example of some of the concerns they vocalized about the faculty, and the way some courses are taught.

My management course was an outright waste of time — up until the professor stopped teaching it due to health problems, and the dean stepped in. The quality improved measurably, even the first week, when she had only had a day or so to prepare. In two classes (we have one more on Friday) she has given us more background on the history of management and management theories than we got all semester. She’s kept the discussions on track (while at the same time encouraging us to tell her what we want to talk about) and can lecture if we don’t have questions, or if the discussion doesn’t take off. At least I’m learning things from her, so the class isn’t a total wash.

My reference class was just not as rigorous as I expected (and, to a certain extent, would have liked). The most valuable assignments we did were two sets of questions to answer. Just random questions that you might get as a reference librarian, about everything from a CD by an obscure band to finding a simple, easy to access scientific fact. We got two sets of those, and were required to answer 10 out of 15 in each set. I learned a lot about how to go about finding answers to reference questions, when to keep digging and when to stop and ask the patron for help or clarification. The class sessions were good — the professor is very exuberant and was able to keep our attention — and he is an approachable, funny guy (which I think are qualities no less important in professors than they are in your friends).

Anyway, next semester starts at the tail end of January. I’m taking cataloging (with a professor who’s got a reputation for making it an intense class) and a course on public libraries (which, according to the course evaluations, isn’t intense). Hopefully that will be a good balance.

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