Student Horror

I don’t do scary things. If a PG film says it contains ‘mild peril’ then I’m reaching for a cushion to shield my eyes before the inevitable slaughter begins (I’m looking at you, Jumanji.). Some poor fool once gave me a Goosebumps book for my birthday – I can even remember it was called Say Cheese and Die – and the damn thing haunted me for years before I could finally burn it in a ceremonial cleansing bonfire. Yet I would happily sit through the entire Saw boxset rather than face my ultimate fear on Monday morning; being a student again.

Evil monkey from the film about the evil monkey that smiles awkwardly by Jason Scragz is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Evil monkey from the film about the evil monkey that smiles awkwardly by Jason Scragz is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Over the past year as a GT, I have heard far more bad words said about various library qualifications than I have about anything else. Which, for librarians, is quite impressive (sorry!)*

If you believe everything you hear, then they are a waste of time, boring, an expensive piece of paper, badly taught and outdated. The academic equivalent of Segways or Clarks shoes for adults. I’m going to save my criticisms or plaudits at least until I’ve had a few classes, but I do agree with many people that there needs to be an overhaul of the system. It is just frustrating that you need to go through the (expensive) system before you can try and change it.

Having helped a large number of students over the past year with their essays, research and studies, I am really not looking forward to going through that same pain from the other side of the desk. Even though I know how to look for books and do a literature search, the scary thing comes when I have to read the information and actually have an opinion or idea. The last opinion I had was that it is definitely worth buying name brand toothpaste because my Wilkinson’s stuff is like smearing your mouth in slightly damp, granulated, moth dust. Not exactly earth shattering.

Although I must say, it is proving very interesting to use the library as a student and to see how academics and departments discuss the library when librarians aren’t there (positive stuff guys!) Electronic reading lists seem to be pervasive across departments and universities, yet my LIBRARY course has only one for one module. The rest are regular paper lists, which are still useful but not exactly making use of the resources available.

As a GT, I thought our library was so friendly and welcoming but now as a student I’m actually quite scared to go inside. Not that anything has changed; it’s just now I don’t know where I’m going and it feels a bit intimidating to find a space or PC in such a large building. It’s just daunting to not have the authority of a staff member. I’m committing this feeling to the permanence of the internet so that when I am finally – hopefully – a librarian, I can use it to actually help people.

It is also weird being an older student. I currently work for Residential Services and so I am seeing a lot of new 18 year old students enjoying their Freshers Week to the fullest, whilst simultaneously feeling like the oldest duffer in town. Perhaps we could also do with some badges that say ‘old and boring’ to put off all the super keen club promoters and leafletters (devils), until the actual wrinkles and grey hair sets in.

So it is with trepidation that I begin my third round as a student. I am afraid to put myself out there in an academic rather than professional way, to face a less structured week, to read non-fiction books and articles, to have to reference (and even use End Note..!), to find out I am wasting my money, to find out I love it and want to do more, to learn theory when I just want to do practical work and to have to tell people I am doing my second Masters degree in Library and Information Management and watch their eyes glaze over from the blast of sheer boredom I have just emitted.

But hey, I least I get to play with lots and lots of stationary.

*For a positive outlook check out Emily Wheeler’s blog post, it has definitely been cheering me up!