It was under the red light of anti-bug lamps at 4am during the summer of 2016 when I made the realization that I didn't have a plan for after graduation. I was working at a YMCA summer camp as a cabin counselor with the intent of avoiding not only my parents that summer, but also the “you can't start your senior year of college without a plan” conversation that seemed to happen every time I breathed too loudly around my father. It was both a blessing and a curse that my co-counselor and I were light sleepers, as there seemed to always be one camper in our cabin that snored like a grown adult with nasal congestion. A blessing because neither of us would have to be alone with our late-night thoughts, and a curse because we were sleep deprived the whole summer. Captain (my co-counselor) was working on her MA in English at Emporia State University, and she was filled to the brim with good advice.
“Have you ever thought about getting a Library Science degree?” Captain said while simultaneously swatting a June bug out of the air. “ESU has an accredited MLS program and if you really need to escape Kansas, they have satellite campuses around the country.”
It was in that moment as I lay in my hammock sweating sunscreen and wreaking of bug spray that the fog obscuring my view of the future began to dissipate. I now had a realistic plan that I could present to my concerned parental figures. Fast forward to 2018, I got a page position at Monticello when it first opened, and I started working on my MLS that fall. Now in 2021 I have graduated with my MLS and am working in Adult Services. My parents have a decent understanding of what I do here but will still admit they don't have a complete understanding of the specifics. Captain and I still talk every day even though she and her husband relocated to South Dakota. I will always credit her with giving me the idea that led me to a career I am passionate about.