Last week, I had an old neighbor contact me out of the blue (the wonders of Facebook). The neighbor, a mother of two teenagers, returned to college to get her degree in nursing. After getting a new assignment to evaluate a short story in her Composition course, she was struggling and needed some guidance. While I was a little stressed because working two jobs has had me strapped for time lately, I was excited at the prospect of helping her. I remember the frustrations I faced during my first year of college—from finishing an assignment I barely understood to juggling multiple tasks and projects along with my personal life.
So, within a few days, we had a study room reserved at our local library and an hour set aside for me to help her. And, it was wonderful. After forty minutes, she had a few pages worth of notes, an understanding of how to formulate her essay, and an eased mind. I was able to catch up with someone I haven’t chatted with in a few years, and I put my paper writing skills to use. Although I was not on the clock, I was able to use everything I had worked hard for in college in a positive way and help someone in the process.
I’m often searching for formal means of volunteering and working, and I was surprised to find that some of the most rewarding work was done spontaneously with an old friend. I am sure she will have future assignments that may plague her, so I recommended she contact me with any other questions. These are the small moments that allow us to build relationships, brush up on our skills, and share what knowledge we have learned with another.
Although it is not something I will add to my resume or do during work at the library, it was just as gratifying. My recommendation for readers is to always have some spare time open to help out someone else on the spot, to keep an open mind and door, and be ready to potentially learn more from those informal meetings than the grand, well-planned events. I look forward to the next time I can help someone just as much as they can help me.
Recent MLIS graduate & lover of writing. This is a narrative of my first look into the librarian profession.