New To iSchool? Gain Peer-to-peer Insight On Best Practices Here!

iStudent Blog

Published: Monday, August 27, 2018 by Priscilla Ameneyro

Welcome to the SJSU School of Information! Fall semester has just begun, so there’s no better time to create a success plan. As a student who is almost at the end of her program, I’m going to share some best practices and resources for new (and returning) students that helped me along the way. In this article, I’ll walk you through my recommendations for making the most of your iSchool experience from day one. 

Step One – Tour the iSchool Campus
On your first day of class, you should tour the virtual school campus. Get to know Canvas, the learning management system used by the iSchool, and Zoom. Read through your class syllabi. Become familiar with the iSchool website; click on a few dozen links and explore. Meet your faculty advisors, who are available to answer your questions about course selections and career pathways based on their areas of expertise.

Step Two – Understand the Field
Second, learn about the Library and Information Science community. Familiarize yourself with all the major professional associations like the American Library Association (ALA) and the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T). If you’re short on time, follow or like these organizations and groups on your preferred social media platform just to be exposed to their content (not to mention networking opportunities). Utilize Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and blogs to immerse yourself in the LIS universe.

Another way to make the most of your iSchool experience is to get involved in the student chapters of professional associations. SJSU iSchool has student chapters of the American Library Association (ALASC), Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T), Society of American Archivists (SAASC) and Special Libraries Association (SLASC). Joining one of these groups is a great way to meet some of your peers and learn more about the field. During INFO 200, you’ll also be offered the opportunity to join one of the professional associations for free.

Whether you want to pursue a PhD after this adventure, start a new career or maybe you haven’t thought that far ahead yet, understanding the community that surrounds your field of study will undoubtedly contribute to your professional growth.

Step Three – Plan for Success
It’s a good idea to start visualizing what success looks like for you. What do you hope to accomplish during your time at the School of Information? You should have a plan for getting the grades you want and anything else you want to do, like completing an internship. Take a look at this article about setting goals to jumpstart your iSchool experience.

Step Four – Connect with the Community
You can learn a lot from fellow students who are further along in their program, as well as alumni. Your courses are the perfect time to get to know your peers by engaging in the discussion boards and inviting people to connect outside of the classroom. Stay in touch with your classmates throughout the program and by the end of it, you’ll have a lifetime network of colleagues and friends. You can also join iSchool Connext, a group designed to foster the connection between students and alumni, and don’t miss the Community Profiles to find out what current and former students are up to.

I’ll leave you with a few final resources and things to consider. Read this article to give you a snapshot of an average day for an iSchool student (me!). Of course, everyone’s daily routines and habits vary, just make sure you create a plan that sets you up for a well-balanced life. Which leads me to my final recommended article, it’s from four years ago, from previous iStudent Blog writer and alumna Allison Randall Gatt. In it she discusses balancing life, work and school, and the advice is still relevant to today’s iSchool students.