Working and Full Time Grad Program

<p>I have been accepted into an online MLS program and I ideally want to take a full load to finish as soon as possible. I also work full time in a library, which is ok experience, but not in my specialization, and there is absolutely no chance of moving up. My employers are not thrilled about my choice to go back to school, and are constantly discouraging it. There is no incentive from my employer to go to grad school, nor is there any incentive to stay once I'm done with my degree. (It's the sort of place where you only move up if someone retires or dies. No joke.)
I'm married, and my spouse could support us without me even working part time, though I don't want to put that strain on him. There will be a small, part time position opening up at the library, and my question is, should I take it? I want to be able to handle the course load without any problems. Two BC's and I'm out of the program. Since this is one of the most important things I've ever done, I really want to do well, and I just don't think working full time and taking a full course load would work.
There is a presidential library very near here in which I have great connections, so I could definitely volunteer there, with the potential of actually getting an internship in the spring. Ideas? Thoughts?</p>

<p>I completed my online MLS while working part time in a library and doing a part time volunteer position elsewhere. I would venture to guess that 99.99% of my classmates were working full time or part time while they were in the program. </p>

<p>The nice thing about online programs is that they are asynchronous–meaning you can do the reading/assignments/post to the discussion board at whenever it’s convenient for you. No set times you have to be online but only a single weekly deadline to complete assignments.</p>

<p>I took me 2.5 years instead of 2 to complete my degree, but I didn’t take summer classes and took a 3/4 load–3 classes per quarter instead of 4. Since you pay for distance ed by the credit instead of by the semester, it really doesn’t matter whether you’re full or part time. The cost will be the same in the end. Most distance MLS/MLIS program suggest you go year round, but I had family obligations that made that impossible. (Also I got just plain tired of being in classes all the time and needed a mental break.)</p>

<p>I would suggest you keep the library job. Also once you get a feel for how time consuming the online program is, you also starting volunteering at the Presidential library. The more experience you have in a variety of settings, and the more varied skills you have, the more employable you’ll be when you do finish your MLS. It’s also vitally important to network.</p>

<p>(And you’ll have actual experiences to relate when participating in class discussions. Makes so it so much easier to have informed opinions about practices. Also since some of your papers will involve writing about real life situations–like developing a collection management plan for a library, you will have a real place to write about. Much easier to do than writing about something you’ve had zero experience with.)</p>

<p>BTW, ANY paid library positions at any level (even non-professional) are hard to come by–esp when you have family commitments and can’t relocate. And the reason your supervisors aren’t thrilled about you pursuing a degree is there is glut of MLS/MLIS on the market. Jobs are scarce. The trend is to replace MLS positions with para-professionals (AA degrees) who are less expensive. Additionally many traditional library jobs (collection dvelopment, cataloging, etc) are being outsourced. And many public/community library systems are shrinking and reducing services (and jobs).</p>

<p>I personally didn’t find the coursework to be extremely time consuming or onerous. The only time-consuming things are the research/review papers. (Typically 5-10 pages each, though I did write one in 25+ range.) I usually had at least 2-3 papers per quarter for each class. If you have solid research and writing skills, the papers won’t be a problem. I didn’t think grading was particularly hard. (My MA in Lit courses had much, much tougher grading.) I got only 1 B+ during my course of study–in Database Management because I really screwed up the midterm. (But I got As on my SQL programs in the second half of the class.)</p>

<p>If you have questions, please feel free to PM me.</p>

<p>I specialized in technical services and now do: archives, records management, serials management, medical librarianship and document delivery/ILL. I also spent a couple of years as a cataloguer.</p>

<p>I think WayOutWestMom has a good idea of keeping your current library position until you see how you handle your course load. If you still want to go down to a part time/volunteer position after starting school, go for it! I’d personally hate to be in a place where people are discouraging my dream all the time : / Mind me asking your acceptance stats/program? Congratulations!</p>

<p>I appreciate the feedback! Summerkiss, I’m not quite sure what you mean about the acceptance stats, but my program is through the University of Wisconsin-Madison SLIS. I’m stoked about getting started!
It’s really hard to stay in a place with such a negative view of education. I’m the only worker in my department with even a Bachelor’s, and I’ve gotten a lot of flack for it. Really unbelievable in a public library, but that’s how it is, I suppose.
Thanks again!</p>

<p>One of my colleagues graduated from Univ of Wisc SLIS’s online program. She enjoyed it very much.</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>