So, you’ve just entered McGill’s MIST program and you’re not sure what to expect. Or, more realistically (because I suck at writing posts), you’re about a month in and feeling overwhelmed.
Along with a few second year students/minions, I’ve compiled a list of things that might help make your first year a little easier.
1) Thomson House is your friend. The program has a lot of group projects, and this is a place where you can a) drink beer, b) avoid climbing up and down the hill unnecessarily (see no. 7), and c) work loudly in groups without being shushed by librarians.
2) Google Drive is also your friend (you have a lot of friends, OKAY??) – for when you want to avoid said group meetings.
3) The CLA Professional Mentorship Program is endlessly helpful. Sign up in your first or second year and take advantage of this awesome opportunity. It’s a great way to connect with professionals in your field and I speak from personal experience when I say they offer way better advice than that publications committee chairperson or whatever. Want more info? Check out this site: http://www.mcgill.ca/sis-students/cla/partnering
4) Don’t go through it alone.
Before I started the program, I had a Survivor type mentality (Reality TV, not Destiny’s Child) in which I found myself thinking/saying things like “I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to win”.
Fun fact: your friends will help you get through this year. Smile, get to know them, talk about similar interests with them. Oh, c’mon, you know how to make friends.
5) Classes aren’t everything. In an information studies program, I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that your first semester might feel a little like Information Overload. Be that as it may, I was surprised and it was a tough adjustment. It’s important to keep in mind that classes aren’t everything in this program, and you’ll get a whole lot more out of them if you volunteer, work, take part in our student associations and those associations’ events. Check out the write-ups on the various associations on this very blog. Psst…SISnic is tomorrow! Come network and EAT FOOD.
6) The education classroom temperatures are whack. Layer-up. Why do you think librarians own so many cardigans?
7) The hill will never get easier. It’s not you. It’s the hill.
8) Learn how to “sell” your degree, and memorize that sentence. You’ll get lots of eye-roll inducing questions asking what information studies is, why you need a master’s degree to shelve books, or if there are classes on shushing. We all know the value of this degree, but it can be difficult to put into words when put on the spot. Think of this as a catch phrase, and trust me, it will come in handy.
9) Volunteer to help write for the school’s blog! And I’m out.