A Long Two Years: Graduation!

Today, I graduated. Today, I can officially call myself a librarian. It’s been a long two years, full of ups and plenty of downs. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.

But at the same time, walking up onto that stage today felt a little bit unsettling. Dressed in black regalia, a bright pink and blue hood, I looked every inch the part, my baby bump hidden beneath the folds of the gown. As I shook the president of the university’s hand, however, it felt like the facade crumbled.

“So, what’s next for you?” he asked.

What’s next. What’s next.

Playgrounds. Kraft dinner crusting over on plastic plates. Long afternoons of picture books and cartoons. Baby kicks. Goldfish crackers crushed into the couch cushions. Job applications sent off into a void of silence. Yet another dirty diaper. Splash pads and wading pools. Play dates. Midwives appointments. Another job application. Temper tantrums. Another month to long for an interview, while worrying that if it comes, my growing belly will immediately have me dismissed. Another playground. More Kraft dinner. Not enough adult interaction. Eventually, labour. Eventually, another small person to be responsible for.

Don’t get me wrong. My life is beautiful. My daughter is a little slice of sunshine, so inquisitive, so smart. I find great joy in watching her learn new things every day, pulling new words out of her growing vocabulary, and climbing to new heights – literally. I am happy to have this time with her.

But, at the same time, I want more. I’m sure that’s no surprise to anyone; I started my degree for a reason, after all. I have high hopes for what I can do for the world as a librarian. I believe libraries are crucial elements of strong communities, and I want to be a part of their growth and development as libraries adjust and lead the way in a world of rapidly changing technology.

I want to get started already.

And yet, I know it might not be time yet. I know I must be patient. I know I must find a new rhythm and a new level of happiness despite a personally perceived lack of fulfillment. I know I must not give up, confident that I will find the job I’m meant for when I’m meant to find it.

And so. Here’s to becoming comfortable with my answer to the president of the university.

“So, what’s next for you?” he asked.

“Well, I’ll be a stay at home mom for a while. And I’m looking for a job.”

“Oh, very good. All the best to you.”

All the best to me, and to all of my classmates. If you’re feeling as unsettled as I am about this milestone that doesn’t really feel like a milestone, know you’re not alone.

I’m right there with you.

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