Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dear Librarian: REPLY for Making the Right Decion

The guest blogger who lent a reply for our letter sender, Confused Freshman, is none other than Prof. Igor Cabbab. He is from the School of Library and Information Science, UP Diliman. Prof. Cabbab is known for his tough and hi-tech online persona. He is an expert at fire breathing and a "jedi master" among yoyo enthusiasts. He collects comic books and reads children's and young adult literature.

Below is Prof. Cabbab's reply to Confused Freshman.

Dear Confused Freshman,

Most of these are inter-related. So here goes.

On decision-making: Usually at any university they require a career assessment exam from the guidance and counseling office before you consider shifting courses. I would suggest you use that as a starting point for decision-making. But then again, I know of some people who chucked the results out of the window when they came back negative (results said they're not for LIS). Putting their feet down they said they didn't believe in the results and would still want to pursue LIS. Some of them are quite successful at present.

On deadlines: The deadline issue may be a problem. It's not just an issue LIS-wise but for any course, or job, for that matter. The net-usage isn't, there have been studies (Australian, if I'm not mistaken) that found out that occasional net/socnet usage / net surfing even during office hours increases productivity. Keeps you on your toes and makes you faster.

On Psych and Educ: Actually you'll be able to use some of those units if you do pursue LIS, especially if you chose to work in school or public libraries upon graduation. A lot of us in LIS have Psych and Educ electives and cognates.

On shifting: I see scenarios and questions. Will I shift because of my friend? Will I shift because of the advice I'll read here? Will I shift because my friend is happy in LIS? Do I have any idea of what LIS graduates do? Just sides of a coin, in reality knowing the answers may or may not help... Yeah, it really will be up to you. Maybe more time to think about it? A little bit more research? Scenario simulations? What will happen if my friend graduates? Will I still be happy? Will I go on taking up LIS? Stuff like that.

In general: From what I read it seems you're still in the process of finding yourself. So your LIS friend is a factor, what you're reading now is a factor too, but then, the decision still has to ultimately come from you. Let me share with you one thing a friend of mine at my old workplace said to me before he left, "Don't stay because of the people." I didn't agree with him. I WOULD stay because of the people. Still, another case of two sides to a coin.

On a personal note, I fell in love with LIS and the people in the profession. That made me study and stay. But then... I left... for a couple of years. Then I fell in love with LIS and the people all over again. I returned. And now I'm staying. I am happy. On the other hand, I know of successful and happy people who didn't finish college and of some similar successful and happy people who work in fields not related to what they took up in college. So it's really more of life and what you make of it.

I don't know if the above have the answers or have actually made you more confused. I'm awfully sorry if it's liberally-tinged with my personal philosophies. Your epiphany could go either way at this point. It's fence-sitting at its finest. You pick a side either by waiting to fall on your butt or by deliberately jumping off. All I know is that you are not alone and all of us are, in one way or another, on a musha-shugyo (warrior's pilgrimage). What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. If life gives you lemons, make lemon juice (cliche-ish, I know). We're showing you the sides of the coin. Now it's in your hands. You don't have to flip it. Pick it up and choose a side.

All the best,

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