29 May 2011

First Semester Lessons Learned

Well, last week marks the end our first semester at RTC. Friday was graduation. Amazing. Where is the time going? At any rate, it is important to me to spend time reflecting on the lessons I learn while I live out this story this year. I don't want a year to go by and suddenly I wonder what I did. And I am realizing these lessons and reflections sort of fall into two categories: personal and professional. Of course, there will be many more lessons to come in the coming months.

But for now here are a few things I've learned so far...

Professional:
  • It IS possible to answer reference questions without any 'typical' (i.e. computerized) go-to sources for information. And, actually, there is something incredibly rewarding to be able to find the exact book someone is looking for without a computer or catalog but simply because you know the collection well.
  • Students are students everywhere. They wait until the last minute to do their work.
  • They also spend a lot of time on Facebook.
  • All librarians are busy (ok, I already knew this). But when your desk is also the Reference Desk is also the Circulation Desk is also the Cataloging Desk is also the IT Help Desk...your days are very, very busy! Although some days it's tiring, I love that I have the opportunity to do so many different things! I'm thankful to learn more about my gifts and about what I enjoy.
  • Being a part of a small academic community means I can learn the students' names and get to know them.
  • I don't ever want to judge the 'importance' of a question a student asks. Here I think it is just as important to teach someone to use email as it is to show them how to use an encyclopedia.
  • Despite the language barriers, I also love working with students from around the world. It is such a privilege  to get to know them and to learn their stories. I hope and pray I am humble enough to learn from them.

Personal:
  • Living in another culture is amazing...and tiring.
  • I am more introverted than I realized. Or maybe this is related to the living in another culture thing. Hard to say sometimes.
  • In the US I love to have a plan. Here I am learning (daily) to be flexible and forget my plans because so often what the day brings is different than what I planned. And usually the unexpected is better.
  • I am also braver than I realized. Who knew I would love riding motorcycle taxis everywhere? :)
  • I am still addicted to one cup a coffee a day, even in Africa.
  • The red roads of Africa are beautiful! And sometimes a pain to wash off my feet.
  • I am here for a bigger purpose than I can understand sometimes...I am just one small part of a bigger story. And I am so grateful for the privilege to be a part of Uganda's story, of RTC's story, of the students' stories, even for a short time.

1 comment:

  1. I hear you on the "introverted" part - I tend to be much more introverted in Australia than the US, although 2.5 years on, I'm getting more extroverted. Thanks for sharing your lessons with all of us. Glad things are going well for you.

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