I Have My Degree, What’s Next?

by Guest Author on July 9, 2013 · 4 comments

in guest post, Job Hunting, librarianship, library school

While I’m out recovering from surgery, I’ve asked a few friends to step in and fill my shoes.  I hope you enjoy what they have to share with you!  If you like what you see, stop by their blogs and tell them!

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Graduation Day!!!

Hi! I’m Christian, and the last time I wrote a guest post, I was halfway through library school. Now that I have graduated, I wanted to come back and give you all an update. I work in a public library, but my interest is in medical libraries. My last couple of semesters were crazy busy. I was working full-time, interning part-time, taking two classes, and serving as vice-president for my school’s student chapter of the Special Libraries Association. It was exhausting, but worth every moment.

For two years I’ve had my eyes set on the Associate Fellowship at the National Library of Medicine. It’s a very prestigious one-year training program for aspiring medical librarians. Many of the medical librarian job ads I saw were asking for two years of “professional experience” (in other words post-MLS degree), or at least two years’ experience in a health sciences setting. I only had about a year of experience in health sciences (combining my two internships), and six years of paraprofessional experience in other types of libraries. However, I still felt like there was so much I needed to learn. I was nervous about my chances of getting the type of job I wanted.

Another plus for me is that the fellowship is in the Washington, D.C. area where I already live. I had family and a boyfriend here and really wasn’t ready to move somewhere new. But life has a funny way of throwing curve balls at you. In January, my boyfriend ended our relationship. He was my main reason for staying, so I immediately began searching for jobs in other states. I felt like maybe a new start in a new place would be good for me. Besides, I couldn’t put all my eggs in one basket with the Associate Fellowship. It is very competitive and there were no guarantees I would be accepted into the program.

In January and February, I applied to several positions here and out of state. I found a couple of jobs that that even bumped the Associate Fellowship lower on my list of interests. I was feeling excited and hopeful. But then graduation approached … and no one was contacting me. Granted, I know sometimes the hiring process moves slowly, but I was still hoping to have at least a couple of interviews lined up by graduation day.

Well it turned out that I would only have one interview before graduation—the Associate Fellowship. It was a half-day event, including a formal panel interview, one-on-one meetings, and lunch. Of course I went home running through my mind all the ways I could have better responded to the questions. I felt like my nerves got the best of me, and I was disappointed in my performance. I even called my mentor, and told her that I thought I had not done well, and wasn’t confident that I would make the cut. She told me not to worry about it, and she was sure I did fine.

She was right. On May 2nd, I received a phone call that I had been selected as one of the five new associate fellows. My response: “Really?” How professional of me. Of course I accepted! I am sooo excited. I will begin the program in September. It feels so surreal, to have wanted and worked towards something for so long, and it actually happened!! Crazy! As for the other jobs I applied to – I never made it to the interview round, and most have yet to contact me at all. My mother said it must be God’s plan for me to stay in the D.C. area a little longer (of course she would be happy about that).

Right now, I am still working in the public library. I will be resigning the first week in August. Then I will take a few weeks to relax and visit family and friends before the fellowship begins in September. It feels so weird to be finished with school now too. It seemed like it was taking forever, and now I look back and time just flew by. So the journey continues. If you want to follow along and see what I will be learning at the NLM, check out my blog: Climbing The Stacks.

When Christian is not in a library, you can find her relaxing with a book, spending too much time on Facebook, or returning to an old hobby of figure skating. She hopes to rejoin a competitive synchronized skating team this year. Follow her on her blog and Twitter.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Evelyn N. Alfred July 11, 2013 at 8:58 am

Even though I follow Christian’s blog, I learned a few new things here. Good luck with NLM.


2 LibGirl09 July 11, 2013 at 11:53 am



3 Elizabeth July 15, 2013 at 10:06 am

Does NLM send their fellows to MLA conference? I hope so; I want to meet you in person! 🙂


4 LibGirl09 July 15, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Yes! I will be at MLA ’14 — my first MLA conference too. Looking forward to meeting you in person too!


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