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Have job, will travel

Posted September 2, 2015
By Haley Hinze, second year M.M.C. student
Photo: Taylor Atkinson stopped to visit Hawaii on her way to the Marshall Islands, where she now works as a librarian for Majuro Cooperative School. Photos courtesy of Atkinson.


When you’re applying for your first post-graduate job, you may find that many employers will require you to travel or even relocate. You might find yourself leaving your hometown or the state you grew up in for a brand new place. School of Library and Information Science graduate Taylor Atkinson’s first job took her to a tiny island in the South Pacific.

Atkinson, a May 2015 MLIS graduate, was seeking out a library science job through groups on Facebook when she found Idealist.org, a website for “unusual” jobs across the globe. A quick search took her to a post for a librarian position at Majuro Cooperative School in the Marshall Islands, a tiny country of islets northeast of Australia.

“I had halfheartedly started the job search process, but had yet to find a job that motivated me to fully finish my resume,” Atkinson explained. “After first seeing the posting in Majuro, I sent in my final résumé and cover letter within 24 hours, so needless to say, I was excited! The interview process was fun, and took place completely via Skype due to the 16-hour time difference from the Marshall Islands to the East Coast.”

After several weeks, Atkinson received word she had gotten the job and began to prepare for her journey to the Marshall Islands. A South Carolina native, she had always planned on relocating to a “completely different place” after graduation, but she “wasn’t necessarily planning on moving seven thousand miles away.” She became excited about the idea of experiencing the new people and culture, the tropical climate and being surrounded by crystal-clear water. Her biggest challenge, however, was leaving her friends and family, she said. But with the help of technology, she will be able to stay in touch.

Atkinson credits SLIS as a major help in giving her confidence to apply for the job in Majuro. “As the graduate assistant at the Programs and Partnerships Department at Richland Library and an intern in the reference department at Thomas Cooper Library, I was able to work with some amazing people, and gained hands-on experience in a variety of library environments. I was also president of the Library and Information Science Student Association (LISSA), where I was constantly supported by Dr. Sam Hastings and Dr. Elise Lewis.”

Now, a few weeks into her new life in Majuro, Atkinson is adjusting to her new job and life. “I am both the librarian and the grant writer for the school,” she said. “Classes will visit the library weekly, like any typical school media center, and I will also be in charge of applying for new grants and administering the current ones the school has. The school just recently opened up a Little Free Library, and the kids and community seem to love it, so I know I will have other projects like that to work on as well.”

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, said, “Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job… Even if it’s a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means you will do something new, meet someone new, and make a difference.” Taylor Atkinson’s “saying yes” to the Majuro Cooperative School, though it has taken her to the other side of the world, will make a difference in both her own life and the students’ lives.

Follow her adventures on her blog, expatlibrarian.com.


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Haley Hinze

Haley Hinze is a second-year Master of Mass Communication student from Greenville, S.C. With interests in public relations and visual communications, she aspires to enter the magazine publishing industry. When she's not in school, you can find her traveling almost anywhere.