It’s not official yet, but it’s close enough—I’ve finished graduate school. I have a Master’s of Science. And I’m about to get married and take my first European vacation in over ten years. (I fell in love with Europe on that trip so long ago; I look forward to doing so again.) Oh, and I need to find a job, or so I’m told. It’s an exciting and mad time, for certain.
As wonderful as all of these new adventures are, the goodbyes have made them bittersweet. My impending graduation means that I had to leave my position at Beatley, and I was sad to do so. There were one project that I had been looking forward and had actively prepared for—specifically, running a workshop/demonstration on book repair—that never came to fruition. Another—preparing a set of book-repair guidelines for future students to hold my position, a project that I personally proposed—I completed, but I would have liked to be able to spend more time on. Still, I suppose that 8 solid pages of tips and guidelines (not a how-to guide, mind you) isn’t too shabby. I hope that future student workers find it useful.
I did get to go out with a bang, though. Not long before I left, a particularly challenging tome landed on my desk: Burke’s Landed Gentry. Previous repairs had left it something of a mess. And, of course, it’s a very thick book, which always provides some interesting challenges.
The one thing I do regret about this repair is that I was unable to remove the leftover adhesive from the original spine. The final result would have been much nicer, if I had. But, after attempting to remove it manually and with a bit of moisture (on a portion that was cut away), I decided that anything I tried might well do more harm than good. So it goes.
Then, of course, there’s saying goodbye to school itself. I’ve been a ball of stress for the past two years, constantly being pulled in different directions, never feeling quite at ease. My upcoming vacation is definitely much needed. But as thrilled as I am to have completed my program (and believe me, I am thrilled), and to have done so well, I still exit with a hint of regret that it really is over. And, although I’m sure this will fade, it feels extremely odd to refer to myself as a preservation librarian. That’s what I am now, after all. That’s what I have been trained to do. But without actually holding that position, even with the work experience I’ve had over the past year, I feel like a bit of an impostor. Impostor Syndrome gets talked about a lot in graduate-school communities, usually centering around PhDs. I never felt that as a student, but I sense at least a hint of it now . . . .
No matter. There are new goals ahead. In the spirit of my once-home state, and of Longfellow—excelsior!