Tuesday, October 02, 2018
Anthony Prince - The Stars at KLIC: Journey Story of our Staff
By Anthony Prince
As a child, I don’t remember ever having an answer to the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” For as far back as I can remember, all I ever wanted to do was go to college. For the most part, I enjoyed learning (if not the social aspects of school) and I wanted to be the first person in my immediate family to graduate from college.
And so I went to college, had some fun, took two study abroad courses, graduated, and loved it. I love learning. I still love being a student in a classroom. But the problem with that being my big life goal is that it was accomplished by 22. So that kid that didn’t know what he wanted to be when he grew up was a 22 year old that didn’t know what he wanted to be now that he was grown up (if indeed, anyone is a grown-up at 22). I had a degree and didn’t know what to do with myself. And while I will always champion the intrinsic value of education, being a philosophy major doesn’t exactly translate into a specific career. Nor is it meant to, but I digress.
After a couple of years of working at a college bookstore, a grocery store, and being intermittently unemployed (which drastically affects mental health and well-being), I got serious about what I wanted and needed in life. While in college, I had considered continuing to grad school so that I could work in higher education, but I wasn’t sure what would be right for me. While I loved being in class, I didn’t love being in front of class. I know from my own experience that education is the single best way to improve your life. No matter where you come from, education can get you to some place better. I believe in the ideals and the promises of education. So I felt it was the place where I belonged; I just wasn’t sure how I could contribute.
Looking back, I basically performed a career self-assessment. How could I take my love of learning and translate that into a career that would be a good fit for me? I looked at various jobs in higher education and the education, skills, and experience they required. I pretty quickly focused on librarianship. It required an ALA-accredited Master’s degree in Library and Information Science (or equivalent, which only takes 2 years of full-time coursework), and the University of Kentucky has such a program! GO CATS! At the time, I was living in Ohio and already planning to move back to my home state of Kentucky, so things were falling into place.
Being a librarian is a perfect fit for me because I love information; I love consuming information. I think that goes back to why I loved being a student and why I majored in philosophy. I love solving the big-little technical problems that spring up in my area of the library. Sometimes it’s mentally exhausting, but it’s always challenging, satisfying, and rewarding. It’s hard to imagine working outside of academia, and Chattanooga State Community College has some of the most devoted, student-centered faculty and staff I’ve ever worked with and the library’s student assistants are the best trained, hardest working, and most helpful students I’ve seen at any library.
Deciding to become a librarian completely changed the trajectory of my life. I’ve moved around a bit to get to where I am (Kentucky, Missouri, and a couple of times in Tennessee), and while moving is stressful, new places and new people are always exciting. If I have any advice to give, it’s this: be ready to move for a job; jobs won’t come to you.