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Moments That Make It All Worth It

shooting star

Photo by Navicore of Flickr

We had an all campus retreat this week. It was all day and the chairs were uncomfortable, but there were periods of illumination and inspiration.

One of these periods was when someone at our table told of a moment of affirmation when a student was really in their shell while studying abroad. This staff member encouraged the student to seize the opportunity while he had it. He didn’t hear back from the student for a long time. When the student came back though, he came to the staff member’s office and told him that it was that conversation that helped him turn the corner and make the study abroad experience amazing.

This made me think about times like that in my own career – moments of affirmation that help you realize that you are making a difference. It’s like watching a meteor shower. You can get discouraged, but sometimes there are spectacular flashes that are utterly beautiful.

In my job I think of reference interviews where students start understanding how they’re going to start approaching their project, or when they get super excited about their topic. I also distinctly remember a class that I thought went OK, but a student saw me in the library later and told me how useful it was. It’s times like this that give me so much joy.

I know other people have had experiences like this. What’s your story? When was a moment that you realized, “hey, this is why I became a librarian?”

Andy Burkhardt

6 Comments

  1. This week a student who had been in one of my classes the week before came up to ask for some help with citations at the desk and then told me she had been one of the students who had asked for help finding articles the week before using my personal Meebo widget on their class page. I don't get a ton of questions through the widget, but she had been thrilled to find articles on her topic, so it was exciting. I'm still a pretty new librarian, so these moments are great and valuable…especially after a long reference shift answering questions about printers and group study rooms!

  2. I know, sometimes it seems like we have degrees in fixing paper jams. But when you get real questions and hit a home run with it, or really use your skills, it's really encouraging.

  3. These “lightbulb moments” are so good :) My favourite was a student who returned a feedback form for a literature searching class that said the session should be compulsory for all masters students! I tend to find that each time I give this session there's one student who gets really excited about creating good search strings or solid search strategies. I always wonder if they're going to end up as a teaching librarian by some devious route.

  4. These “lightbulb moments” are so good :) My favourite was a student who returned a feedback form for a literature searching class that said the session should be compulsory for all masters students! I tend to find that each time I give this session there's one student who gets really excited about creating good search strings or solid search strategies. I always wonder if they're going to end up as a teaching librarian by some devious route.

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