Q: I am considering whether or not to attend an LIS program beginning in the Spring. Until recently I worked with the developmentally challenged in a residence as a Case Coordinator but became burnt out. I went to a career counselor several weeks ago who administered several tests and after talking with me suggested that I consider learning Library Sciences either to be a librarian or a non traditional path. I am having trouble making up my mind if this the right career for me. Unfortunately, I have only 6 weeks to decide before I will need to submit an application! Is this enough time to make a good decision and if so, what should I be doing to in the meantime to aid that decision?
TA: Wow, this is an interesting, and extraordinarily time-sensitive, question. I know that we’re all required at some point in our life to make quick decisions, but this feels a little pressured in terms of the short period of time and the large impact of this decision. My advice would be to slow things down a little. Meeting with the career counselor was a great first step, and it’s indicative of a level of intellectual curiosity and self awareness. On the other hand, you shouldn’t pursue a graduate degree just because someone told you to, or because you tested that way. I would strongly recommend that you get some kind of library experience first, and then pursue the degree if it’s a career of interest. Try to find a job or even a volunteer experience in a library. And explore different types of work experience and environments—public services, technical services, public library, academic library, school library. There are so many choices. You’ve done the initial work of identifying a new field of potential employment. Take some time to do the in-the-trenches work to see if actually fits.