At the beginning of this semester, I anticipated working in an academic library, because I love research and could see myself helping others with reference-type work. So I was thrilled to get the opportunity to do my internship in a real, well-run academic library, because I expected I would get a glimpse of the things I might be doing when I was in a similar job. However, as the semester progressed and things became more serious with my boyfriend, Jeremiah, I considered the fact that my career path could very well be tied to his, if we were to get married. He is going to be a pilot in the Air Force, and he will be training for that position next summer. For that reason, I started looking into military libraries. Military libraries are considered special libraries, among the ranks of specialized libraries like those focused on medicine, law, or business. However, they appear to function similarly to public libraries, due to collections that are geared toward families with children, as well as offering children’s programs, and opportunities for furthering education, which is a prime concern for many servicemen. Of course, the governing system for military libraries is the federal government, and then the base commander at any given military installation is sure to have the final say in whatever happens. So it is fair to say that military libraries are very different from other types in the library profession, although their main focus in serving their patrons is similar to public libraries. Most, if not all, Air Force bases are highly likely to have a library, because they are recognized as a vital part of the services that enhance the quality of life for military personnel and their families.
Now that I have explained everything I know about the field of military libraries, I will have to turn everything on its head and explain that I’m not going to do any of it. That is, for now, I am not doing any of it. The fact is, I am engaged, as of December 12th, so my priorities are significantly altered. I had considered getting an online master’s degree, which I will explain more about in a bit, but at this point, since I am no longer only responsible for my future, I am interested in paying off my undergraduate debt, and because of the way the G.I. Bill works, I would much rather Jeremiah use that to complete his master’s degree, because due to the competitiveness of Air Force jobs, it is becoming increasingly difficult for officers without graduate degrees to be promoted through the ranks. He would not mind if we both had full-time careers, and he has told me that he is fine with whatever decision I make. But I know his level of commitment to the Air Force as a career, and I want to see him succeed in that before I think about my own desires for a career. It might be a dream of mine, but it is one that I am willing to modify or give up for the needs of my family. I am also potentially interested in homeschooling if and when we have children, and in that case, teaching them would become my primary occupation.
As much as I have felt like I should say that I am going to college with the outcome that I will go to grad school, and the outcome of that is a long-term career, in the past few months, my mindset has changed dramatically, and it was not without inward struggle and many prayers. But I truly think that it was God who changed my heart, and he is teaching me to be less self- focused. Because I have always been very academically motivated, it is almost painful to say, “Well, you know, I’ll probably just be a stay-at-home mom…” But my mom is an example to me. She is extremely intelligent and talented, and to be honest, and she probably does more than someone with three jobs, though she’s never been paid a cent for it. Even though I might not pursue a full-time career, that does not mean that I cannot make a difference, and that I won’t do things that I can be satisfied with and proud of. I have been thinking recently that no matter where I am, I will be a librarian at heart. If I am a stay-at-home mom, I will strive to have the most beautiful, wonderful collection of books at home that I can for my children to enjoy, and like my mom did for me, I will basically make the public library my children’s second home, so that they will beg to go there more than anywhere else, just as I did. If I can cultivate a love of reading and an appreciation for libraries in anyone, then I will feel like I have been successful, whether it is at a specific “job” or not. I believe that vocation and calling do not have to be tied to a specific career, but instead that those skills that I learn and the calling that I feel can be manifested in every aspect of my life, no matter where I am, or what I am doing. Nothing is wasted, and that is the mindset that I choose to have now, and in the future.