This week, we welcome special guest blogger, Shelby Barnes, graduate of the BiblioTEC Intern program at the Sylvan Way Library, to share her insight into what going back to school means after graduating high school: 

Before I began my internship at the Kitsap Regional Library, I was your average fresh out of high school graduate trying to figure out how I could read and play video games all day while simultaneously having a wonderful career and going to college. Since I had no idea what career I wanted to pursue, picking out a college seemed nearly impossible. My lack of self confidence really made it hard for me to figure out what I wanted to do, because while I had an idea of what I wanted, I didn’t think I would be successful at it.

Becoming the BiblioTEC intern really changed the way I not only viewed the world and other people, but it also changed how I viewed myself. I was able to try so many different things that I never would have tried otherwise without the overwhelming fear of failure making me second guess everything I did. Working with my mentor, Megan, and all the other staff members at the library gave me confidence in myself that I hadn’t had before I started working there. It's a wonderful and amazing feeling when you discover that you not only have the confidence to try but you have the confidence to fail. I’m not talking about going out there and purposely failing, but going out there with the possibility of failure and knowing that it's alright. You’re actually allowed to fail and there is nothing wrong with you if you do.

Back to School at the University of Washington. Photo by Valeria Koulikova, 2013. 

As a sort of graduating present, Megan arranged for us to visit the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle so that I could sample a class, meet with an English department adviser, and find out more information on how to transfer to the school. I won’t lie, dealing with all the paperwork and things you have to go through to get into any college can be tiring and isn’t very fun, but getting the chance to find out all of the information I would need before I started applying was extremely beneficial and helped me plan out my classes at Olympic College (OC). My favorite thing about my trip to UW was getting to meet, Nancy Sisko, an English department adviser. It was such a surreal moment that I find it hard to describe. She was so much like my mentor, Megan, someone whom I am already very comfortable with, that I immediately felt comfortable with her as well. And having her explain how the English department worked and talk about all the things I could do as an English major made everything seem more real. I could actually become a writer. It was such an odd feeling that I didn’t realize that that's how I was feeling at the time and only looking back on the encounter does it really make sense. I look forward to joining the English Department at UW sometime soon!

Since my internship has ended, I have been focusing more on my passion for writing and finishing up my Associate of Arts degree at Olympic College. I’ve also written an Article for the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and started working on my book blog again, so things have been going great!


A "Back to School" College and Career Resource Guide:

BrainFuse: A library resource that offers homework help, test preparation, and resume services. Tutors are available online from 1pm to 10pm everyday. Log-in with your library card. 

Testing and Education Reference Center: With the use of your library card, gain access to testing resources for SAT, GED, and GRE exams, a resume builder, and scholarship database.

Pathways to Success: A Worksource program that partners with local school districts in Washington to provide career advising. Participants work closely with a mentor who matches them with career experience.

Getting Started at Olympic College: For new and returning students, check out the Getting Started guide and learn the steps to apply to community college, register for classes, and make the most of your experience. In addition to a full array of degree options and transferable college classes, OC also offers numerous levels of education from GED to 4-year Bachelor's Degrees. 

FAFSA Online: Funding for college begins with filing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application requires a lot of thought, but it will allow you to discover pathways to pay for college, including grants and scholarships. Pay close attention to the deadlines. The application is still open for 2016-2017. 

Educational Opportunity Center: A group of advisers at Olympic College who can assist with questions relating to how to pay for college, find career pathways, and help with college applications.

UW Transfer Thursday: Every Thursday, the University of Washington Seattle Campus welcomes transfer students from local colleges and students from abroad to find out more about the process of applying to the UW. Be sure to sign up online and create a schedule to maximize your visit to the campus.

UW Transfer Admissions: Here you will find many resources for planning a transfer, including a credit equivalency guide, application guides, and helpful tips for the process. 


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