20something profile: Christine
Posted by David
I always knew I wanted to be a novelist. Fortunately, I am fairly practical and realized that announcing to the world, “I wrote a book” was not enough to generate a paycheck, no matter how many people I told. In other words, I needed a day job. So, I went to college, where I found myself, made meaningful connections, broadened my mind and all that rot you tell people. All kidding aside, I loved it.
In 2011 I graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a BA in English Literature, a field that ninety-eight percent of the science majors were more than happy to assure me would prove useless. The remaining two percent were my friends, and while I’m sure they thought my major was useless, they insisted that it wasn’t.
I briefly considered studying creative writing, but decided that was an entirely unpractical major, whereas English was only mostly so. Besides, in creative writing classes the professors dictated what you wrote, and I couldn’t have my creativity stifled in such a way.
Meanwhile, I was considering a variety of day jobs, among them teacher, editor and professor. By the end of my junior year, I decided to continue with my schooling by working towards my Masters in library and information science at Long Island University. Now, let me make something clear: I am not going to be a librarian. I’m not trying to criticize the profession, but I have two very good reasons for not going into this specific career.
Since the first day of class, my professors have been wringing their hands and weeping over the inevitable death of libraries as we know them. Think of them as mourners at a funeral. I may be old-fashioned, but, as I mentioned, I am also practical. As such, I will not go into a dying profession. My other reason for not being a librarian is this: librarians must interact with and help people from all walks of life on a regular basis. That is something I would have no patience for.
I do, however, greatly enjoy the process of finding answers for people’s questions—that is the pursuit of knowledge. Research has become my newest passion, and it goes hand-in-hand with writing and reading. There are a variety of names for my chosen field: researcher, information analyst and information specialist, to name a few. Luckily, there is always a demand for information, especially now when so much of it is unreliable. I would be helping people without necessarily having to interact with them.
To prepare for this I’ve been getting the aforementioned Masters, and I currently have an internship as a researcher that just turned into a part-time job. Before this internship I volunteered at the local history center in a town nearby and worked as a graduate assistant at my university’s library.
Unfortunately, my Pollyanna optimism is blighted by the current economic situation; while my professors are mourning the inevitable death of libraries, they (and everybody else) are also sobbing over the lack of jobs. I’ve tried to hide in my academic bubble and say that everybody is exaggerating, but my friends, who are generally not prone to exaggeration, provide me with a rude wake-up call.
Many have submitted countless résumés that receive no responses. Disheartened, they apply for jobs that they don’t want—jobs that they know will be boring, unrewarding and, worse yet, beneath their education level. My boyfriend passed the bar exam eighteen months ago and he just found a job.
But that’s a spark of hope, isn’t it? He found a job—a great one; it just took him awhile. I have another year of graduate school left, and I’m trying to remain positive about my prospects.