30 March 2009

A peek into my long-term plans

I tend to forget to keep people outside of school in the loop on my career plans, or, what I'm actually going to do with my life. I just came across this bit that I wrote in an application essay to be a teaching assistant for next fall, and I think it's a nice bite-size encapsulation of why I'm here and what I'm doing. I thought I'd share it with you.

Intentions, information, and action: these three elements are all necessary in any effort toward social justice and sustainable change. In my experiences as a community organizer, educator, and activist, I have found this to be true time and again. Too often, well intentioned people take action on an issue of injustice, but lack the necessary type or degree of information to ensure success. In some cases, the gap between success and failure is a matter of misunderstanding the social or historical context around the issue; in others, a lack of access to the best available data. In either case, the gap between success and failure is also a gap between mapping one's intentions to "make things better" onto appropriate action to enact change. To bridge these gaps, we need better information.

It is with this understanding that I am pursuing a degree in Library and Information Services, as well as a Certificate in LGBTQ Studies. Librarianship lines every path toward social justice: encouraging critical thinking and information literacy, supporting individuals' and communities' desires and needs to absorb information about their lives, fostering a positive environment for learning, promoting creativity and problem solving skills, and on and on.

It goes on from there to talk about connections to teaching and why I'd be a good GSI (graduate student instructor), but that bit up there is the real kernel of my opus magnum. You'll get to hear more about the practical side of it soon, when I write up the proposal for my thesis research. Stay tuned!

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