Featured student: Alyssa Bigelow
1. Why did you choose the iSchool?
I knew I wanted a career as a librarian and was excited to find that the University of Ottawa, the school at which I did my undergraduate degree, would be offering a new master’s program in information. My disappointment came when I found out that it was a bilingual program and applicants had to be fluent in both English and French.
I knew I would get a quality education here.
I researched other schools with similar programs and it didn’t take long before I realized the University of Toronto was one of the best in the field. I wanted to do this program while still being relatively close to home and U of T was the best place for this. I knew I would get a quality education here.
2. Did you know what path you would choose before beginning your Masters? Any second thoughts on your planned area of study?
I was instantly drawn to the LIS path when I was researching the program. I felt it would be well rounded and broad enough that I could explore many career options. I also considered the ARM path for the same reasons but ultimately went with my first choice. I still think I would enjoy aspects of ARM and may take some courses in that area in the future.
3. What are your career goals?
I’m keeping an open mind as go through the program.
As of now, I think I would like a career in law librarianship. At first I thought I would like to work in public libraries but I am drawn to more of a corporate setting. I feel like as I learn more about the field throughout my studies, I may land on something I never had expected and I’m keeping an open mind as go through the program.
4. What has been your most rewarding moment at the iSchool?
Finding others who share similar goals and interests has been a very new and rewarding experience.
Finding others who share similar goals and interests has been a very new and rewarding experience. Getting to know others in the program, their background and future goals has broadened my view of the field of information and helped me to grasp the myriad of possibilities there are with this degree.
5. The most challenging?
It has been most challenging to try and balance school and a personal life. It is easy to get bogged down with the amount of readings and assignments that need to get done, and I constantly need to remind myself to slow down and relax once in a while. Living in a new city has also been difficult, and not being around family and friends can be challenging at times.
After spending so much time in humanities it has been refreshing to study different fields such as systems design
6. What has been your favourite course and why?
INF1003: Information Systems, Services and Design has been my favourite and also the most challenging course so far. I’ve enjoyed it because it is unlike any course I did during my undergrad and it has been challenging for the same reason. After spending so much time in humanities it has been refreshing to study different fields such as systems design.
7. Have you been working since starting your studies?
I have been working as a research assistant for Student Services since the beginning of the semester. It is only about 10 hours a week so it does not interfere with my course work.
Both the faculty and the GSU provide a lot of opportunities to meet new people and to take a break from studying and assignments.
8. What about your social life?
My social life has not suffered as a result of starting this program. Both the faculty and the GSU provide a lot of opportunities to meet new people and to take a break from studying and assignments.
9. What have you learned since starting the program that would have been useful to know beforehand?
I have learned quite a bit more about the different paths in the faculty. I would have liked to have been better informed about them before choosing the LIS stream. I am quite sure that I would have chosen the same path but it would have nice to have been more aware of the options and the different careers that each may lead to.
10. As a first year student, what advice would you give an incoming student?
As a first year student, I would tell incoming students to keep an open mind and to engage in as many opportunities as possible to get to know the faculty and fellow students. Starting out in a new program can be very daunting but engaging with others who are in the same position as you can be extremely helpful and comforting.
11. How do you think you’ve changed since last year?
I have become more independent and more confident in my ability to handle life, school and work.
This time last year I was working at a very unfulfilling job and trying to find a masters program that I would enjoy and that would lead to a career that I would be proud of. Since that time I feel much more confident about my future and happier with where I am today.
Since last year I have have moved away from home for the first time, and have discovered the freedom and the (many) challenges that go along with that. As a result, I have become more independent and more confident in my ability to handle life, school and work.
– posted March 2012