As I Graduate from the Knowledge River Program
The Knowledge River Program strives to move our cohort through an MLIS in eighteen months. It is a completely doable task, but a challenge nonetheless. In that time, you will take 34 credit hours and will do a 3 credit hour internship. You will present at one conference (at least). You will apply for fellowships and travel grants so that you can gain experience and connect with like-minded professionals who hopefully will see your potential for growth. You will learn to be personable and outgoing. You will apply for some jobs, possibly your dream job, and maybe you will get it.
For many of us, eighteen months gives us time to pinpoint exactly what it is we want to do (archives, special collections, academic library, public library, etc.). Some of us know right away; others find their path as they go along. Some will struggle in one course while others excel. Some do this in their twenties; others later on in life. And even with all of those challenges, or maybe because of them, we prevail. That is why Knowledge River works.
We support each other, we push each other, and we stay connected long after those eighteen months have concluded. Our personal success depends on our collective success. Eighteen months can pass quickly, but it takes little time to form an enduring bond.
I learned much in my short time. I embraced the cultural aspects of my courses, knowing that working with and for Latin@/Hispanic and Native American communities will first and foremost define my purpose in the profession. I attacked the technical details with ferocity and though they retaliated, I always returned for more. I can code on my best days and I can laugh about it on my worst. I processed archival collections, learned to make library guides, and even talked at length about digital data curation and preservation. For these lessons I am humbled.
But perhaps the most valuable lesson that Knowledge River has taught me in eighteen months is that even if you can do it on your own, why would you want to? Paths will always shine brighter with more flashlights to light the way.