02 Apr April is the Cruellest Month…April Fool’s!
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
I love spring. This surprises people, I imagine due to my dark monochromatic wardrobe. But I love the sense of rebirth that comes with it. It’s similar to the feeling at New Year’s, except the sun is now shining and flowers are blooming, reflecting the hopeful feeling all around.
With that always comes a tension, as any change does, as all change is both beautiful and violent.
(If you couldn’t tell, this update is going to be sort of–and I quote an amusing review of the band New Order I saw this morning–doomy, gothic, and intellectual.)
I’ve had some very serious life changes happen within the past few months, which have caused me to become extremely introspective. I’ve spent so much more time by myself outside of work. I don’t often talk about my work-life balance on here, but it is a boundary that for me is set in stone, and I treat that boundary as sacred. But moving here meant leaving behind every friend I had ever made, so the “life” part of my “work-life” balance quickly started including people from work. This is not necessarily bad; I’ve made some lifelong friends who also happen to be my colleagues. But I’ve stopped seeing my isolated home life as a negative lately. I think being able to connect with who I am alone when I don’t also have to worry about work or school has been very cathartic during these tumultuous few months. In fact, I have never been able to spend this kind of time with myself before. As a new professional, I cherish it, and I think it enriches the relationships I do form at work and professionally. For instance, I have started to actively cultivate my leadership abilities and self-discipline, more so than is actually expected from the Emerging Leaders program.
I have a traumatic brain injury, so this type of what Amy Cuddy calls presence is difficult for me, and I am enjoying working through that. I’m still not great at it; my short term memory is not great and I often get lost while in conversations, causing me to trail off or say unrelated or possibly inappropriate things. I do not enjoy excessive vulnerability, nor do I think it’s actually healthy or productive (sorry, most other radical people my age), but I mention this to show that these qualities of compassionate leadership, presence, and self-discipline are not something you are born with, nor are they things that come easy. They are something you have to actively cultivate, but they are possible, even if you have physical, mental, or social barriers.
Speaking of traumatic brain injuries, last week was the two year anniversary of my car wreck. Another thing I don’t like to talk about in any serious way, but something that happens to fall in this introspective time of year for me. It is scary to think that I almost died right when I was starting to take control of my life and make it my own. But I didn’t and here I am now. Things happen in life, but sometimes, you just have to push through them even better than you were before.
April Fool’s Day is a weird holiday for me. When I was a senior in high school, I got the acceptance letter from William & Mary on April Fool’s Day. I know, not the best time to get a “congratulations you’re going to one of the best schools in the country despite living below the poverty level” letter. I was a first-generation college student, and the fact that I got the letter on April Fool’s gave me constant dread in college: What if this is all a joke and they take it away, taking away all the hard work I’ve done to rise out of my situation, shouting APRIL FOOL’S as they do so. I was looking at my “On This Day” section on Facebook on April first and I saw three posts: one of me getting the letter, one of me a year or two later talking about how this has changed my life forever, and one right before I got my BA. That final one made me cry re-reading it. The year before, I had failed a semester and taken a medical leave, not knowing when or if I would ever finish my degree. And then, suddenly, I was a month away from being the first person in my family to do so. I had been accepted into all three graduate programs I applied for and in fact went to the best program in the country. And I sort of realized….I did it. I just had my one-year review of being a faculty librarian at an R1 University, with two peer-reviewed articles and a book contract under my belt. I’m in a national leadership program. I have a roof over my head. I have a stable career. I have career aspirations that are more than feasible.
I actually did it. Despite all the odds stacked heavily against me, I did it. And nobody can come up to me and shout APRIL FOOL’S and take it away, like I always thought they would.
In a little over a month, I will be finished with my project rotations. In Reference, my research study is going very well, although an instruction conference rejected my proposal. I have also updated and created subject guides for English and Ethnic Studies. In Copyright, I have finished a guide on Public Performance Rights which lets our users know how to get permission to show films outside of an educational setting. The next step of this process is creating a local subject heading so that people can facet “Public Performance films” in our catalog. I wrote the normalization rule and result set for that this morning.
After the semester is over, I will officially start my capstone. I don’t really like that language as it makes me feel like I’m in grad school again, but the point is that I have some sort of “deliverable” by the time I’m finished. I’ve been speaking with my mentors and supervisors, and we are going to have me do some pretty advanced authority control work that also involves digital exhibits in Omeka S and ontology development. Not saying much now, but one thing I’m researching to prepare is archival absence.
Continuing education will also be a part of my final year. I will be taking Arabic in the fall and spring semesters, hopefully to give me an edge when job hunting. I’m also going to take a few writing classes this summer so that I feel more confident in my writing abilities.
As I wrap up my rotation and transition into my capstone, I am also working on my Emerging Leaders project. I am so excited to share that once it is finished. Stay tuned! Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.