My first year in the Library and Information Science Program was anything but normal. That can also be said for my iSchool experience as a whole, if I’m being completely honest. Still, this first year in LIS has taught me so much more about how to get involved and be an active student.

Now, it’s all about passing on that knowledge. While there is so much advice I could offer, two grad school life-hacks stands out.

Find supportive people.

Find people. Not just any people, but the people who are going to help you be successful while you’re here. Your grad school support system. The people you can rely on through all the bumps and valleys and twists and turns you’re going to face as a graduate student. We all need them, and the iSchool is full of them.

Grad school is challenging, rewarding, time consuming, fast-paced, and an adventure unlike any other. All in all, it is very tiring. One way to help find solutions to the challenges you may face is to find those people who support you and bring out your best self.

It is important to build a support system while you’re here. Connecting to new people and having the possibility to see new places because of those connections. To be a little more technical, that is what networking is!

I would not have successfully navigated my first year without the solid support system I found in the iSchool. I am stressing this because it not only helped me, but this can help you too.

“But Liz, I don’t know anyone! How do I do that?” you ask. Well, I have just the solution for you!

Get involved in student organizations.

The iSchool is unique for more than just it’s fantastic academic programs and easily approachable faculty. We are bursting at the seams with student organizations and there are more than a few dedicated to the great graduate student population as well.

I am the current president of WIT Grad, an organization dedicated to serving graduate women interested in technology or seeking more professional development opportunities in the technology field. Along with this, there are so many wonderful organizations and opportunities that the iSchool has to offered to grad students.

  • LISSA is solely dedicated to the LIS students and their interests while offering some professional development and super cool opportunities (*cough* edible book fair *cough*)
  • There is also the Syracuse University chapter of Nanhi Kali. They never cease to amaze me with their dedication to raising funds to support the education of female children in India. Their work is incredibly inspiring.
  • The InfoSec Club allows you to pursue your interests in information security, while meeting some really cool people along the way. Plus, their club t-shirts are always on point.
  • Lastly, how could I have this list without including the big one: iSGO. It is the graduate organization in the iSchool. They do it all. iProm? Yeah, that’s them.

Of course, there are more groups you can participate in, and don’t feel limited to just iSchool organizations. My message here is not to let this time in grad school limit you to only academic pursuits. You will gain so much through being involved around campus as a graduate student. Friendships, leadership skills, communication skills, and priceless memories.

Start building your support system and well as possible connections for the future. You are going to meet some spectacular people throughout the course of your studies, but even more if you get involved!

How can YOU get involved?

For more information about any of the student organizations listed above, visit the iSchool’s student organization page for contact information. Never feel limited in what you can do. If you are passionate, dedicated or you just want to try it out, all of these organizations will welcome you with open arms. Who knows what people you’ll make along the way!