This time last year, the dream of attending Queen’s University in the Master of Arts Conservation program was a tiny seed, a sight far off, something of which I could concentrate my efforts in. At that time, I never thought I would be where I am today, but this is how I got here.
I was in my final year of undergrad and was assigned several assignments that required library research. At that point, I was never able to find anything I wanted in the library. I *knew* the information had to be out there somewhere, but where was it? All of these questions lead me to pursuing my Master of Information Studies at the University of Toronto a year later.
In my final semester at the U of T, I took a course elective on conservation. By that time I had also found the workshops organized by the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG, pronounced “cabbage”). The conservation course quickly became my favourite, but after many years of school I was eager to begin a career. I returned to Regina and was lucky to become employed shortly thereafter in the library at Saskatchewan Polytechnic (at that time it was SIAST). My career as an academic librarian began and I was able to meet and learn from the CBBAG Saskatchewan contingent.
Years passed and I continued to learn and grow as a librarian, there was always new challenges, new students to help, and new things on the horizon. Continuous change both personally and professionally.
It wasn’t until the fall of 2019 when I began to think about conservation in a serious way again. I found out what I needed to do to apply, and it meant I would need one more chemistry course to fulfill the program requirements. Since I hadn’t taken any chemistry in nearly 20 years, I enrolled through Athabasca University to retake the first level analytical chemistry class again, in the hopes of passing the second level analytical chemistry class in the following semester. So for the past year, I have juggled working full-time, completing two online classes in chemistry, lifting weights at the gym five days a week, planning and prepping all of my meals, and spending time with my husband and house rabbit (among many other things).
It wasn’t always pretty, but it was worth it. My daruma doll got knocked down several times, but every time, he got back up again. I was able to apply to Queen’s and several weeks later I got notice that I was selected for an interview.
And then Covid-19 happened.
Well maybe it didn’t “happen”, but it arrived in Canada and my in-person interview was moved online. I was happy I made it to the interview stage, at this point getting accepted started to become a possibility that actually had some real merit.
Patience and working-from-home during the lockdown became the routine until I heard back from the program that I was accepted. Looking back on that day now seems so long ago as much has happened since then, including a move across the country during the pandemic.
My classes started Monday and I am so grateful to be here – at this exact point.
None of this could have happened without the many, many people around me who supported me last year, and for many years before that. The people who were my friends, the people who pushed me to not settle, the people who motivated me, supported me, mentored me, loved me. To my many colleagues, fellow librarians, friends, bookish people, gym buddies, and house rabbits – I am on a new path because of you.