Monday, September 18, 2017

My Graduate School Master's Experience #1

Howdy everyone,

The last two months have been insane. I have gone out of town twice already. The first time was for vacation and the other was for business.

For those who don't know, I was accepted to the University of North Texas (UNT), which is located in Denton, Texas. Denton is about 40-50 minutes from Dallas and from Fort Worth, which would be about 36-40 miles away from each, depending of course on the awful DFW metroplex traffic.

I am enrolled in the Master's of Library and Information Science (MLIS) and I got a scholarship through the university.

Since this program will be taking up a large amount of my time and it seems highly encouraged by the overall LIS (Library and Info. Science) online community to blog about the experience, I figured this would be a new installment of the posts I do. I did say I wanted to have a free-for-all to post about whatever I'm interested in, so this is part of what you all will be getting now.

Here is the basic sum of what classes I'm taking this semester and what my course load is like:


TONS OF GROUP WORK

Anyone who knows me, knows that group work was a complete thorn in my side during my undergrad career and I've grown a particular disdain for it. However, LIS programs and the profession rely heavily on group work and teamwork, so I'm having to completely re-evaluate my perspective on the concept. I have 3 courses, which is 9 credit hours and therefore Full-Time, and in all 3, I have a group to work with. All of which have different people, so yay for meeting new people almost instantaneously. I'm not opposed to group work, and I'm hoping this will be a good experience (all indicators so far point to nothing but positives). This may be the point where group work gets turned around for me.

MY CLASSES

INFO 5000: Information & Knowledge Professions
INFO 5300: Management of Information Agencies
INFO 5600: Information Access & Knowledge Inquiry

I know that you can't really tell a whole lot about these classes by the course name, because they are rather vague overall as far as trying to guess coursework. I already ran myself in mental circles trying to figure out exactly what I'd be doing in some of these before the semester actually started. My one source of comfort was that 5000 and 5600 are core courses, so no matter what, I HAVE to take them. Therefore it isn't on me if they ended up being weird or ridiculously full of things I don't know about. 5300 was recommended by my advisor so I could only hope for the best, but the title implies that it should be largely useful.

COURSE LOAD

Three classes may not seem like a lot, but when it comes to grad school, nobody is kidding around. I have at least one assignment a week per class. Thankfully for some classes I can get ahead, which I often choose to do, but usually only by one week. I enjoy staying on mark with the syllabus and course calendars so I only get my assignments done ahead so I can be sure they're correct and I don't fall behind. I end up checking over them at least 3 times before submitting them, usually on the actual due date or just slightly before it. I enjoy having things completed with enough time to let them sit before I re-evaluate my work. The main thing about my classes is that they come with intensive and extensive reading.

Just to put that into perspective, I get 3 reading lists every week, 1 for each class. These lists can range from 4 readings to about 40 PER LIST. This isn't even a joke; my first week in 5000 the reading list for the first module was 35 readings. 35 readings for one class ALONE. These readings range from being 2 pages long to 55 pages long. I haven't even gotten through EVERY reading on that list yet, because thankfully I can choose between some to read for the assignment and some to skim or just leave alone. However, since I am rather OCD about my studies and education I'm going to end up reading all of the texts on every list whenever I get the chance. So once I finish the main assignments for the week I plan to read as many additional texts I haven't read yet, as time allows.

In case that didn't tell you enough of how much reading I have, I've decided to provide the page count. In just my first 2 weeks, I read 245 pages. This comprises of articles from all 3 classes and the number of pages I read from my textbooks, but not the entire list of textbook chapters and reading lists that were suggested for those 2 weeks. It is THAT intense. With that many pages I could have finished a full book. Not a super huge one, but still, a full book. Since this does not even touch half of what I was given to read, that means I have a lot more to read just to catch up because of my own personal need to complete assigned reading lists.

If nothing else, I think it may just be interesting to see how many pages I end up reading every week for my classes throughout this entire semester.The reading is divided over textbook chapters and just scholarly articles found in the university databases, required and additional ones I read to complete assignments more thoroughly. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that means that in addition to core reading, I also have to do extra research outside of class and read even more than I already have to start with.

UP TO DATE TALLY:

I just got through week 3 of class, so here is my page tally for the week!

Week 3 Page Count: 103 (ONE class); the other two had readings, but not any for pressing assignments due, so I will catch up on those this coming week once I complete my due immediately assignments.

Current Semester Total: 348 pages


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