Since starting a MSc in Library Science in September 2020, I feel as though I have been on rather an emotionally-charged rollercoaster. Having just received the results of my term 1 assignments, I decided to note some thoughts; firstly, what was going through my mind throughout term 1, then reflections now that I have received my grades, and term 2 is underway.
Term 1 overarching thoughts and feelings:
- I danced continually between “you’ve got this!” and despair about the delusion I must have had in thinking I could do this…
- Having always loved libraries, I had never actually worked in one, so was concerned that my lack of experience would be a hindrance.
- Normally this course runs face-to-face, but due to the pandemic, it has been taught entirely online. The lack of physical interaction has been challenging though; when at university previously, I built rapport with teaching staff and peers which, this time around, has just not felt possible to achieve remotely.
- As a visually impaired person (VIP), what unforeseen limitations or challenges will be presented during my studies, and will I be able to manage?
- My anxiety was extremely high when, week after week, my required computer and assistive technology continually failed to arrive. (I did my best to keep up by attending lectures via Kindle, and with regular visits to the Assistive Technology Suite at the university’s library). Ultimately, I did not have my own equipment in place until week 6 (of 10) of term, and trying to play catch-up at that late stage was always going to be a huge undertaking.
- As a lover of museums, I am rather embarrassed to admit that prior to this course I had only ever visited the British Museum to attend a specific exhibition. Further to prompting and inspiration from our fearless course leader, between lockdowns I paid a visit to permanent galleries 55 & 56 there, in order to undertake research on clay writing tablets, libraries, and archives found in Mesopotamia. What a richly curated array of artefacts are housed at the British Museum! Should we ever experience freedom of movement again, I definitely plan to return and explore further.
Reflections following receipt of my term 1 grades:
Well, I am very happy to say that I passed all four modules. Unsurprisingly for me, this means continuously batting between thoughts of amazement that I even passed, and disappointment that I did not do better; I know that I am full of contradictions, which can make my mind a very complicated place!
Overall though, I am really pleased to have passed term 1, and to have learned so much along the way. Given my limitations as a VIP, I know that sometimes I need to be a little kinder to myself; I can’t always see what is being shown or demonstrated, and as I have a very slow speed of reading due to my limited sight, I cannot physically read as much as most students. I have a variety of assistive technologies in place to help, but these kinds of challenges always continue to be a massive source of never-ending frustration. However, a silver lining is that my listening skills are pretty darn good, if I do say so myself!
In celebration of the fact that my highest term 1 grade was in the Data, Information, Technologies and Applications module, I cannot resist including a robotic image here. Prior to this course I certainly never anticipated undertaking an assignment on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics, and the fact that I did so, and apparently did so reasonably successfully, gives me hope with progressing in term 2.