Adriana Flores is one of our participants in our Year in the Life series, which follows new archivists in their first professional position. We will be following Adriana for a year. You can read her previous posts here.
July has been a busy month! Between settling back into Washington, visiting as many friends and family as possible, starting my new job, and attending SAA, I barely had time to write this blog post! It’s been an exciting but exhausting month. July was jam-packed with activity, but this post will focus on my transition back to Washington State, starting my new job, and the wonderful time I had at SAA in Portland.
First of all, it’s been amazing to be back in Washington. My family is so happy to have me back on the West Coast, I’ve been getting to spend more time with my friends in the area, and best of all: no humidity!! It’s been great to re-familiarize myself with my old college town, explore the new shops and restaurants that have popped up in the last four years, and enjoy all of the summer fun that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. I had three weeks off before work started, so I took that time to hang out with my boyfriend, visit friends in Seattle, settle into my new apartment, and watch A LOT of Food Network. By the time my first day of work arrived, I was excited to develop a daily routine.
Starting work at the University of Puget Sound was wonderful. Everyone was very welcoming and so excited for me to be there. My new boss welcomed me with flowers and I had lunch and coffee dates with the other librarians almost every day during my first week. Whenever I met a new staff or faculty member and I told them I’m an alum, they were so excited! I’m one of many alums who have returned to campus, and it’s great to be welcomed back in such a warm manner.
Starting a new job is always diving into the deep end, and Puget Sound was no exception. As soon as my email account was set up I received tens of emails and my Outlook calendar quickly filled up with meeting invites. Transitioning from an assistant archivist position at a large university to an almost lone arranger in a small institution is a big shift. There are a lot of big decisions to be made right off the bat and a lot of new things to learn. I have a massive reading list of past policies and procedures, annual reports, and workflows… not to mention all of my HR documents. Luckily, I have a great support system at Puget Sound. My director is very understanding and patient and my assistant archivist, Laura Edgar, has been a great partner so far. I know my new job will require a lot of hard work and long hours, but I’m excited for the challenge.
After my first week of work was complete, I headed south to Portland, Oregon, for the Society of American Archivists’ annual meeting. This was my third time attending SAA and I was excited to take a more active role in the conference by presenting a poster. I collaborated with my past coworker, Sarah Pratt, on a poster that described HGARC’s involvement with a for-credit undergraduate internship program at Boston University. The poster turned out well and we had a great time chatting with people about it during the two poster sessions.
This year I focused on attending panels and section meetings concerning management, teaching with primary sources, documenting student activities and activism, and engaging outside communities. There were a lot of amazing presenters and wonderful professionals to learn from. One of my favorite moments from the conference was attending the Liberated Archive Forum, which took place on Saturday. The morning keynote was given by Walidah Imarisha, a writer/activist/educator/poet. Walidah was incredibly inspiring, touching on how archives can be instrumental in providing marginalized people access to the past in order to construct the future they desire, yet archives are historically unwelcoming towards those communities. Walidah jumpstarted our discussions for the day and I highly recommend you listen to the recording of her keynote on archivists.org.
Last but not least, one of my favorite parts of SAA was connecting with my professional colleagues across the country! I got to reunite with my lovely BU coworkers, my fellow Simmons alums who are scattered across the country, and my ARL/SAA Mosaic fellow family. Once you develop relationships within SAA, they’ll last you a lifetime. Archivists are so friendly and open, I never have a hard time meeting new people and forming new professional connections. I got to renew personal friendships, learn more from my colleagues, and reaffirm professional connections that I can rely on in the future.
Overall, July was an amazing, hectic, and fulfilling month and I can’t wait to see what August has in store for me!