The Lede: What is Different about Graduate Study?
Do you remember the transition from high school to your first year of college? For just about everyone, it was time to “up your game.” For some it was a rude awakening; for some it felt truly liberating to live away from high school regimentation. For some, it was a time of vast confusion as all the rules seem to have changed and time became hard to manage.
Some people have a similar jolt when moving into graduate study –gone are the days of taking large, possibly anonymous classes. Now you are in a smaller class, a more intimate and much more demanding setting where you are expected to speak up and show initiative. Readings and assignments can take much longer. You have to rely intensely on your own motivation, and you need to pick up the social cues and signals that help you move into your field and find a way to your future.
What’s the library have to do with this? Everything –regardless whether you ever set foot in the physical building. The library can help you find the extra readings, resources, and bibliographies your professors will require. Searching specific databases for journal articles can take time –the librarians are there to help, and they have experience with graduate studies. Many graduate students have developed strong working collaborations with individual librarians, for building bibliographies, and finding the expertise and over-view literature that can ease your way into a new subject.
Using the library (digitally or in person) is not optional for a graduate student. It's a "must." The library will also help you find your distinctive groove as a more serious student, help you to make the most of your time, and provide you with a competitive edge in your field. If you are a graduate student and know little about the library, or where to find help, now is the time to discover more. Organization and persistence (“grit”) are essential for any graduate student –less structure, but more demands. The Library will be you stay in your lane for the long haul of your degree program.