Five years. That is how long it has been since GBSB officially closed its doors. Even though First Niagara took over the GBSB customers, the culture and time of GBSB was over. Since February 2008, many things have changed in my life. Looking back now, I can see that I have been stuck in a haze that I have been unable to overcome until now.
After the announcement, in September 2007, that GBSB was to be taken over, I immediately began seeing an advisor in the small business center at Buffalo State College. I felt that receiving the severance package from GBSB and starting my unemployment, would give me the opportunity to start planning a business that I had always dreamed of opening.
Let me pause here for a moment to say that you can have more than one dream in your life. I started out believing that I wanted to be a famous broadway actress. That was my goal. To sing and dance and be known worldwide. When that dream did not come to fruition, mostly because of my own laziness in pursuing opportunities, I had to modify my thinking. My next big dream was to own a successful business and even though I haven’t reached that goal yet, I still hope to one day. Everything I do going forward is leading to that eventuality, I just have to open up to other possibilities along the way and make things happen. Understanding that I may not do it here or now, but someday I can if I keep moving forward.
After the business did not take off, my funding was not secured and a death in the family caused me to rethink my goals, I decided to return to school. This return found me in the Sociology department at Buffalo State. Back to my alma mater, back to my home, back to my comfort zone. The program was challenging, but I excelled in it and was able to do quite a bit of undergrad research. It was a wonderful experience and it gave me a chance to see what the college experience really should be. Focusing on my studies was gratifying and I feel that I was able to learn things that I never would have learned on my own. My feminist sensibility was already ingrained in me before I started the program, but after taking classes in gender, power, class, and so on, I was able to put words to my feelings and better articulate my arguments. It was truly a wonderful two years that I will never regret.
An important part of this experience was that it led me to research. After finishing my second bachelors, in 2010, I returned to work full time (in a bank) but continued to have the research bug. I wanted to continue on in a masters program that could include research, but Sociology was not quite the perfect fit, so I decided to apply to the MLS program instead. Having one semester under my belt, at this point, has given me a sense of what this new program is about and where it can lead. I truly feel that everything in my past has led me to this point. Becoming a reference and research librarian encompasses all the other things I have done in my life. Music, Sociology, customer service, tech services, management, database maintenance, web development, etc. can all be pulled in.
My liberal idealism is a great springboard for the open mindedness that a librarian needs to have. No questions asked, helpful no matter what, assisting customers without judgement. These are the cornerstones of the library profession. You can never let your own personal ideals or morals get in the way of what a patron requests. Information is important and the organization and dissemination of it is critical. People are always saying that libraries are going to be useless in the future and that the library profession is not a good one to get in to, but they are wrong. Librarians are going to be even more necessary in the future. We are the ones that can find and organize the information. Without librarians, the world of information would be completely unorganized and impossible to navigate.
My journey will take a couple more years in the masters program before allowing me to work in the industry, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can feel that I am on the right path and I am excited to see where I can go with this degree. It looks like things are going to improve now. I do not want to say this for certain as I know how quickly things can change, but I am trying my best to be positive. After working in a book store, as a tutor, in a bank as a teller, and a prep manager at a deli, I have finally reached a job option that is similar to my job was five years ago. All of my experiences over these past five years have brought me to this. Without going through everything I did, losing family members, losing jobs, living in the same apartment for eleven years, and generally bouncing around, I would have never been able to appreciate this new opportunity.
Coupled with my MLS degree, my new employment will be even more interesting. My understanding of database management and information systems will help me to be successful here and elsewhere, in the future. The writer and I may have had to work hard at a lot of random jobs to get here, but things are definitely looking up. 2013 is going to be a welcomed good year for us and hopefully the following years will only get better. A professor and a librarian. That is the future and we just have to keep chipping away at it until we can make it happen. Finally.
Peace and happy learning!