My Orientation Session at the University of Washington for the MLIS Degree!

I’ve had a pretty incredible life journey that’s brought me to where I am with my career goals and ideas about education. Being accepted to the University of Washington’s Masters of Library and Information Science (MLIS) online program was one of the happiest moments of my life – to feel I had finally found an amazing career fit and having that feeling confirmed and encouraged by being accepted into the program was incredible.

[ A picture I took at the Suzzallo Library on UW campus ]

The program began with a three day orientation, which as I type was only a couple days ago. All residential and online students came together in person on the Seattle campus and were instructed on the basics of how to be a grad student – how to plan now for careers, advice from instructors and other people in the program, and how to operate the technology for classes. It was pretty overwhelming, but also was incredibly exciting.

[ A picture of the incoming 2016 iSchool class ]

I live south of Seattle with my girlfriend Katie, so we could have feasibly driven up to the University of Washington campus every day…but with Seattle traffic along with the costs of paying for parking and eating at restaurants, we decided it made more sense to get a motel within walking distance of the campus with a kitchen where we would make our own meals.

Staying at that motel turned into an experience all in and of itself – it was an inexpensive place that was incredibly quirky, with a cabinet in the bathroom that looked into the bedroom (?!) and a television that was plugged into an outlet on the lamp (it also didn’t work, but I wasn’t too surprised about that). Also, I didn’t realize when I reserved the room that it had 3 queen sized beds! So we had our pick of which mattress was the most comfortable.

Katie doesn’t work until the evenings, so she came along with me to campus and waited while I attended my orientation sessions. She is so incredibly supportive! We explored the campus together during my breaks and made plans for how life will look for us after classes begin (a few days from now!).

[ Me standing in front of the Mary Gates Hall building, which houses the iSchool ]

One really exciting part of orientation had to do with a design I  submitted to a contest for the ALISS (Association of Library and Information Sciences). The ALISS is an organization that all MLIS students automatically become members of, so by default I was a member as soon as I enrolled. My design won the contest (HOORAY!!), which meant it was printed onto t-shirts and hoodies for other students to purchase. It was nice to have interacted with the students who run this organization before orientation and then to meet them in person. And they were all wearing shirts or hoodies with my design printed on them, which was so strange and wonderful to see!

SHIRT - light shirt
[ My winning shirt design for ALISS! ]

I’m so nervous, but even more I am very eager to start building on my education and experience towards a career I feel passionate about. I feel like the information and direction I received during orientation (and the boost of having won the design contest and seeing my design being worn by other students) has given me a good starting point.