Archive for the ‘university of north carolina’ Tag

I obviously did not die last night   1 comment

The more that I read about becoming a teacher in North Carolina, the less appealing it sounds. Did you know that North Carolina is #46 in teacher pay? Because it is. A pay raise for teachers is a huge issue in the upcoming midterm elections, and Thom Tillis and Kay Hagan are arguing back and forth over whether that recent 7% pay raise was for all teachers, or only the best teachers (looking at the Google Search headlines, no one really seems to know either way). I just don’t feel secure in a future of teaching for North Carolina.

Which means that it’s time for Plan B: becoming a librarian.

UNC’s program for a Master’s in Library Science looks the best, the most ambitious, but they also require a 3.5 GPA, and I just do not have that. I’ve been stumped. Maybe I could start at a place like NCCU or NC State and then transfer to UNC?

In the shower this morning I pondered over all this as the conditioner set in my hair, and I began thinking about all the things that a librarian has to do. It’s not just putting books away. You have to maintain databases. You have to retrieve information and teach people how to find that information — it’s practically information science —

I could study information science to get my GPA up. Perhaps I could even focus on database management, get a head start on it? And would you look at that, Wake Tech has a couple Associate’s Degrees in Database Management. Their tuition fees are very affordable — 12 credits at only $864/semester for in-state students, and their out-of-state students are exactly equal to in-state VA students at Mason.

I could also put some more, useful skills on my resume, beyond QuickBooks (which I haven’t used in three years) and writing and editing (which no one really seems to respond to anyway). “Hey, Research Triangle,” I could tell my neighbors, “Are you looking for someone who knows, I don’t know, Linux or Unix or C# or something, because I have that. Oh, hey, temp firms, lookie here, a recent college grad who has both social sciences and information technology on her resume.” (stands on a box, uses a megaphone) “HEY, UNC, LOOK AT THIS HERE RESUME, YOU MIGHT WANT TO HIRE ME SO I CAN DO COMPUTERY STUFF BY DAY AND TAKE YOUR LIBRARY CLASSES AT NIGHT FOR A REDUCED RATE OR A FREE RATE? LOOK AT ME.”

Posted November 1, 2014 by agentksilver in Personal

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Visiting North Carolina Central University   Leave a comment

Yesterday I visited North Carolina Central University. This was the college that my Petsmart manager had recommended. I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

North Carolina Central University

While NC State had had the feeling of being a small town inside of a larger town, NCCU felt like a community college. The set-ups were similar — a collection of buildings surrounding actual public roads, with lots of bricks — NCCU just felt small. It felt like walking around the Annandale campus of Northern Virginia Community College. The athletic areas felt like the athletic areas of Loras College — small and overblown in importance.

I had actually scheduled a tour, so I went into the Admissions building to wait for the tour to begin. It was supposed to begin at 2:00. By 2:10, there was no sign of such a tour beginning, so I got up and walked around campus by myself. Besides, I had looked at a map, which showed the agenda of a tour. It seemed geared towards potential undergraduate on-campus students. I am none of those things.

Both the staff and the student population is predominantly black. That’s something that I realized right away. I’ve never spent a whole lot of time being obviously a minority someplace. Except maybe Italy? It felt unusual to me.

I managed to find the graduate school office fairly quickly (I took that picture on the steps of the building, just before it began raining). I walked into the office and met with the executive assistant for graduate admissions.

She admitted up-front that she didn’t know a whole lot about the Library Science program (on purpose, she had learned a while ago not to guess and give false information), but she could answer all my questions about admissions. She took down my name and contact information so she could forward it on to the relevant Library Science people. Literally all of the Library Science faculty and staff were in a department-wide meeting right then. But she named off two people in particular who she would pass my info on to, who she said were “very quick to respond.”

I asked about admissions requirements, since the website gave very little information on what standards they were looking for. She said that they took a “holistic approach” to admissions — a poor GPA could be made up by a good GRE, or a bad GRE could be followed by an excellent letter of purpose.* Having excellent everything could still lead to a rejection if the staff felt like you weren’t a good fit. She used 3.0 as a basic excellent GPA, which made me feel less bad about my 3.09 GPA.

I asked if, since the Library Science program was part of the IT program, it was a technology-based program. She had never heard the question before, had no idea what the answer was, and wrote it down to pass on to both the people she was going to email about me and the people in charge of overhauling the new website. It was a very good question apparently.

She asked if I was looking for a Yes or a No to that question. I replied that I wasn’t sure. I had worked in a library during my undergrad, where I had worked with more technology than actual books. Which was good — yay more technology understanding — and bad — boo not enough books. Then we both got on a random tangent where we declared e-readers worse than physical books.

I left soon afterwards.

I still have not received an email from her or from the professors she was emailing. I don’t know her email address, either.

I walked out of there with a better understanding of what I want to do with my life. Why do I want a degree in Library Science? So I can work in a big university library, and be surrounded by quiet, books, and a learning environment (at least, it was quiet in the interlibrary loan office at Mason). I want to work in a big university specifically, so that I can have a variety of classes to take every semester, even if I’m not working towards any one degree. So I rejected NC State out of hand. I don’t want a degree in Public History. I want a degree in Library Science.

Next up is UNC. I’m excited.

*Letters of purpose seem really big in the graduate community. At NC State, the student affairs woman I spoke with went on a tangent about how some people say that they are interested in history — “Not even American history, or ancient history, just history — it’s a big subject!” The executive assistant I spoke with mentioned that they reject people who want degree just to have a degree, since they tend to not finish the program.

Getting an MLS   2 comments

So yesterday at Petsmart, I was cutting pallets open with a manager there. She seems to like me. She caught me on Tuesday organizing dog costumes by size and was absolutely delighted. She knows I used to work at Books-a-Million and seems to think of me as a “fellow book person.”

She said, “Are you planning on getting your master’s degree?”

I said yes, but I couldn’t decide what to get it in. Classical history? Teaching? History?

“Why not library science?” she asked. It turns out that’s what she’s getting her master’s degree in. She thought I seemed like a good candidate for a Masters in Library Science. I confessed that the thought had crossed my mind as well, but I couldn’t seem to decide.

I mentioned the idea to James over lunch, and he gave a chuckle and said that he was doomed to always date librarians.

It’s honestly not a bad idea. All of the non-teaching careers that I’ve considered — archiving, government bureaucracy, working in libraries — all seem to require an MLS. Not to mention that, presumably, knowing library science would help in future historical research. No one really cares that I have a degree in history. What practical use is a history degree, after all? But an MLS, that means I know how to do databases and research and organize things, right? (I guess? Just from scanning shelves in the library science section at Fenwick Library I could tell there was more to it, but most people seem to think that’s all there is to library science)

I decided to do some research this morning. UNC’s program requires 48 credit hours and comes with a technology requirement. They also “look for strong, past academic records, judged by the applicant’s past Grade Point Average (GPA), and we examine the coursework on the student’s transcript(s) to determine personal strengths and areas of mastery. Recently accepted graduate students had an average undergraduate GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.”

Well great. I graduated with a 3.09 on a 4.0 scale. Now, that 3.5 is an average, but what that means is that I have to be amazing in other areas, like strong recommendation letters, GRE scores, and my statement of interest.

North Carolina Central also has a program; it requires 36 credit hours and mastery in a second language (modern, sign, or computer). It also has an online program. They only require a 3.0 to attend and they don’t seem to list what GRE scores they want, and they only want two letters of recommendation. Also, their website looks a lot less modern than UNC’s website. This is the program my manager is going through.

Honestly, I think that what I need to do now is go out to these various colleges, walk around their campuses, and ask questions from their admissions people and the people who run the programs I’m interested in. This can’t continue to be theoretical. Do I want to work in libraries or archives? Do I want to teach? Do I want to be a classics professor (UNC’s program is basically a training program for classics professors)? What do I want to do with my life? It can no longer be about “what opportunities am I able to get” because I need to go out and get those opportunities.

That’s what it’s all about   Leave a comment

At orientation at Target, as Belinda, the HR person, was giving us a store tour, a man stopped us and asked about small refrigerators. Belinda took him over to Seasonal, to the college supplies section, leaving us new employees standing awkwardly in the middle of the main track. We all avoided eye contact and looked around at our new place of work.

We were standing right next to where all the team/college shirts and jerseys are. In Sterling, it’s a row dedicated to Hokies gear. Here, it was evenly split up into the three main colleges in the area: Duke, NC State, and UNC.

Hokies gear decorates a lot of cars and shirts in the DC area, and in a lot of other places in Virginia. Its main rival is UVA, but you never see UVA pendents and shirts and bumper stickers. It’s all Hokies gear. And yet, no one discusses it. I’ve never heard anyone discuss Tech’s chances of getting into whatever championship they would get into. No one talks trash about UVA. No one talks up Tech. It’s all just Hokies gear.^

When I sat down in orientation, Belinda decided that the best way to introduce ourselves was to tell our name, what our position was going to be, and what our team was.

That seemed silly to me, but I listened in. I was going to be the last to speak anyway.

“For example,” said Belinda, “My name is Belinda, I went to school at Ohio State, and while I still say Go Buckeyes I have definitely joined the Wolfpack since moving to North Carolina.” She went into detail about how she became an NC State fan.

The next person to speak was a little grandmotherly lady who was going to work on the sales floor. “I am a Tarheel, long and proud,” she said.

From the reaction of Belinda and the kid next to me, she might as well have caught fire. A TaRHeEl? iN tARgeT? Non capisco!

“I’d keep that to yourself,” said Belinda, a smile pasted on her face.

During our security orientation, the security officer would ask us the same thing, and would have much the same reaction that Belinda and the kid next to me had. The officer would then say, in an overly-friendly voice, “Well, you look much better in red!”

I was already feeling awkward by the time we moved on to the kid next to me. He was a former high school football player, and was going to be doing morning front work. He had strong feelings about the Wolfpack, and was a fan of theirs. Then he took some time to start putting down Duke University. No one had said anything about Duke University. He just did it, off the cuff. Belinda and the little grandmotherly lady encouraged it. I sat quietly for several minutes and listened to these three now-coworkers of mine do nothing but put down Duke University.

Finally it came time for me to introduce myself. I said that my name is Kelsey and I would be working primarily in Starbucks and then, I said, weakly, “I went to George Mason so…go Patriots?”

Belinda nodded and the orientation continued.

So now here were the three of us, with nothing to do but stare at all these shirts and jerseys from the three primary schools in the Raleigh area. I indicated the shirts and said, “You know, it’s weird. In Virginia, there’s really only the one school everyone cares about — Virginia Tech. It’s weird to go from that to here, where there’s three schools and everyone is picking sides.”

The grandmotherly woman gave me a look and said, “Yes, it’s almost as though it’s an entirely different state.”

I’m not sure Target is going to work out for me, guys.

^That isn’t to say that I’ve never seen George Mason gear around town. It’s just much less prevalent and much more understated. We Patriots are proud of our education and would certainly recommend the school to someone who asks, but that’s about it.

College career path   Leave a comment

unc latin requirements

unc history requirements

I was talking with my brother-in-law the other day (I have a brother-in-law now!) and I told him that I was planning on pursuing a teaching degree at the University of North Carolina. He suggested that I apply as soon as possible, for a variety of reasons. With that in mind, I went and looked up the endorsements necessary to get into the two teaching programs I’m considering.

It appears that I am going to be a Latin teacher. Colonial history is going to have to be a hobby. For now.