Alright. I think I can write now: I put in my three hours of Programming study, and I’ve run through two chapters on the more writing-and-reading-based Japanese-language learning app I’m using, which parallels the content of the speech-based app. Even though I wanted to write this post earlier today, I held off…and that’s probably a good thing in this case, because I can approach the question I needed to answer earlier, with a bit of certainty (instead of with a hunch).
I don’t want to do Data Science. I was correct in my intuition that it was heavily math-based, but I hadn’t had it confirmed to me, until today. If I go into Data Science, there is going to be a long road of mathematics classes ahead of me, before I become capable of working as a Data Scientist. That’s not to say that I’m terrible at Math. I have specifically social trauma around Math, because kids/teens didn’t understand how I could be so good at it and still be in this body.
Because of this, I only have, essentially, a High-School education in Math, except for Statistics, Financial Management, Accounting, and up-until-the-first-test in Differential Calculus. At the very least, I’d need more Statistics education (I still can’t remember what kurtosis means, or “R”, or the meaning or functionality behind Chi-Square analysis, though I’m sure I can look all of these up), along with Probability, Calculus, and Linear Algebra. In essence, that is the Sciences, not the Humanities.
This is all great, if I want to be a Data Scientist…but the demonstration of the application of coding to large data sets, etc., that I’ve worked through today, had me thinking back also to the Social Sciences.
You may recall that I initially wanted to be a Geologist specializing in Magmatics, switching to Sociology (with a particular interest in LGBTQ+ realities) once I found it existed. (I had a hard time growing up, and realized that I understood very little of what was actually going on, all those years. “Now,” I thought, “I have a chance to figure it out.”) After I found my Sociology classes to be too mainstream for me (we ended up studying things like how the dominant culture came to be dominant), I ended up switching to Creative Writing, going to my new University specifically to become a Writer.
Creative Writing is a Humanity — not a Hard or Soft Science — and based more in Art and (loosely speaking) Communication, than in Math. I switched to Creative Writing because I was under pressure to choose a major, and Writing was one of the only stable elements in my life, at the time.
I realized years later that Writing may have been stable for me, because I had trouble tolerating the world as it was; so to survive, I had to create a world I could live within. Writing was my way of externalizing that world instead of just living in my head. But as I’ve said, at some time, one has to come out of the cocoon.
And it’s really funny — maybe “funny” isn’t the word I’m looking for, more than “peculiar”, or “curious” — but I think a lot of writers have had trouble living in the world, and that’s why they write. If that weren’t the case, I don’t know why smoking and drinking have been so prevalent in the subculture. (Please note that I do not recommend smoking or drinking.)
The method of hypothesizing a connection between two (or more) different variables, and then testing that hypothesis, looks really similar between Data Science and Social Science.
Now that I know this, I can’t be shot down by under-informed people saying that you don’t need Math to be a Librarian. I’m not aiming to be, “a Librarian.” If you’ve been in the Public Library job market, you know that there is a specific type of person being sought, when the call is for, “a Librarian” (as versus, say, a “Systems Librarian” or a “Cataloger” or a “Metadata Technician”).
Generally, this means that one is good with people, an excellent communicator, very social, does not hesitate to reach out to all different types and walks and kinds of people, and is able and willing to talk and write to people constantly to connect them with information; or set up the next public gathering; or go out of their way to invite them into the context of the Library as a “third space” in which people can gather publicly without paying (much like schools, parks or community centers — or, if one is lucky enough to have it, a home).
I am not that person. I appreciate people like that, seriously; I got into the field because I aspired to that; but I’m not that person. And aspiring to be her, doesn’t change the fact that I’m not her, and am not going to magically become her.
I’m into books and the Internet to contact the rest of humanity, precisely because I have trouble interfacing with people. I may have been a Library patron for so long, exactly because I have trouble interfacing with people.
The profile I’ve seen widely given for “a Librarian”, in the Public Library sector, at least, does not cover the entirety of human variation — different personality types with different skill sets — who may gain a Library and/or Information Science degree. If I go into this field at all, now, I know that I am most likely to succeed in something like, specifically, Cataloging, or Digitization, or something else in the back room. And that, specifically, because I’m not highly social and don’t desire to be highly social.
I got into Library Science because I was interested in reading, locating and accessing Information, and the game of research. I really don’t care that some patrons think I’m the embodiment of a Librarian stereotype who is just waiting to release “her” unbridled libido.
That’s until I become averse to said patrons.
But avoiding people — specifically avoiding this dynamic, and specifically removing me from a situation in which I experience so much social anxiety that I have to take medication to manage it — in this job market, doesn’t seem to leave me a lot of options (if I want to work in the Library field). I’m really uncertain that I even want to touch trying to endure sexual harassment, at this point — and it seems that every Professional I broach this with, knows what I’m talking about.
Happily, there is something adjacent that I can do, which I have had training in, and which I already know I like, and that is Web Development.
I can’t be definite about this, but I think that if I become a Web Developer, I will run across fewer of the dynamics I want to avoid, and have greater measures to address said behavior, when it does come up.
But if the biggest hurdle here is being able to work directly with servers, I’d say I’m doing pretty good.
The most apparent key here is that I’ve been involved with a lot of creative work; from Writing, to both Digital and traditional Art. I did even take — now that I look at it — at least six classes which can apply to Graphic Design in Undergrad, not including any of the multiple classes I took in Grad School which can apply to Web Development.
So…maybe it was not a mistake to focus on Digital Services, during my time in grad work (though I thought that it was when they wanted to put me on the Chat app). Like maybe it was not a mistake to major in Creative Writing, or to take extensive classes in Art.
One of the things I realized when my most recent course was comparing/contrasting class pathways (the second half of the course was essentially an orientation), is the fact that most of my chosen education has had me building things — if not stories, artworks. And I’m told that Web Development is a good path, if one actually likes to build things!