Hello Everyone! My name is Natalie, and I am one of two Senior Library Ambassadors this term. I’ve been with this program for over a year now, and have really enjoyed it! I’ve met so many cool people and I get to make a meaningful impact on the Waterloo community. I just graduated this spring from the program Knowledge Integration, which means this is my last term as a Library Ambassador. I am amazed at how much of an impact this program has had on me both personally and professionally.
Knowledge Integration put a strong emphasis on skill learning and development, especially in the areas of design, critical thinking, and problem solving. I really enjoyed my degree and I believe I learned a lot, but classes are only half the story. In my job as a Library Ambassador, I am able to apply these skills in a practical work setting and develop other important skills that can’t be taught in a classroom. One of the areas I have always struggled with is my verbal communication skills. Talking to other people, especially if you’re an introvert like me, can be really hard. I’ve learned my introversion is not a weakness, but rather a strength, as I am a good listener. As a Library Ambassador, it is my job to listen to you, the students, and work to help the library serve your needs. Approachability is a skill that can be developed if you practice enough and this job is the perfect low-risk environment to become more out-going.
Getting involved with the Library Ambassador program is also a great way to be creative and take risks in a safe environment. Each term we get to create a project from scratch and we are allowed to do whatever we want with the goal of promoting library services or engaging with students. I get to challenge myself all the time in this job to try new things and to just put myself out there. This job has been so important to me, not because it is easy, but because it is a challenge. I never would have had the confidence to do any of the things I have done if I didn’t have this job. I’ve also learned more about how to rely on others. My supervisor and my coworkers are fantastic and they are all really supportive, and I know that when I am struggling I have people who I can rely on while I find my way back to where I want to be.
As a student, I understand how hard it is to fit anything else other than school into your schedule. For the first three years of my degree I didn’t make much of an effort to get involved in anything. Waterloo is amazing because there are so many clubs, activities, sports and events you can attend. I never would have guessed before I started working here just how much work goes into trying to engage with students and provide the right balance of entertainment and education at the Library. If there is anything I regret from my undergrad, it is not taking the opportunities that were around me to get involved. Your school work (or Netflix, I’m not judging) will still be there when you get back, I promise, so take a risk and try something new. I think you’ll be surprised what you will find.
Best of luck everyone!