For most of us sharing became a normal part of our lives at a young age. We shared our toys, sometimes after a bucket of snot and tears, but we shared and smiled and learned, Hey, it actually can be fun to share. Right?
Well, I’m fairly certain I was supposed to learn this activity, but some wires must have gotten crossed because it is not a major piece in my repertoire. My tendency is to do things solo, and this was reinforced by years of solitary activities like playing the piano (sure I could have joined chamber groups, but, ew, people), reading (yes, that can be done among others or aloud to others, but, ew, people), writing (see my comment on reading), hiking (people who do that in groups weird me out), and kayaking (okay I usually have at least one other person with me when I do this, but I’m in control of the dad-gummed boat).
And then, there was my long stint in academia. An entire decade, to be exact. Some of you may be wondering why it took me ten years to complete college. Well, that is partly because I took my sweet time and partly because after my undergraduate degree I went on to obtain two masters degrees. I know. I’m a glutton for punishment.
Now, I’m fairly certain I’ve spent the majority of my young life in a library of one sort or another in pursuit of my academic goals. It all started with that pesky public library in my hometown with its weird staircase — the kind where if your foot goes too far forward on the step you are guaranteed a broken ankle/leg because there is air on the other side, not anything solid.
Who comes up with these things!? They are terrifying. That probably has something to do with my fearing a lack of control.
Anyway, public library. I checked out dozens of books at a time, participated in summer reading challenges, and did homework and research projects there.
After the public library, I graduated to my university’s academic library. Again, countless hours were spent alone completing homework and papers. I also spent a lot of time alone in practice rooms in pursuit of perfecting some prelude or nocturne or sonata. You see, my goals were always, always me-focused. That didn’t get any better when I moved to another state for graduate school. I was alone a lot those first couple of years. So. Much. Homework. Side note: writing fugues is hard. Like, really hard. I don’t recommend it.
Now I’m nearing the end of my graduate school days and that means one thing: the dreaded master’s thesis. Well, I decided to make it even more of a burden by choosing to write TWO master’s papers (granted they were shorter — around 30 pages each) instead of doing a traditional thesis. *See my glutton for punishment statement above.* So, I spent an atypical two years working on these thesis papers — every word, every comma, every dangling modifier, was mine. Were they the most spectacular pieces of writing in all creation. *Guffaws* No. But they were mine, and I was pretty proud of them.
Fast forward to the present. I work in a library (second master’s is in library science). Do you know what librarians do? They share. They write papers together. They present at conferences together. (You were wondering when I was going to get to the sharing weren’t you?)
Except I don’t — like to share, that is. I’ve spent my entire life in pursuit of my dreams, my goals, my papers. I have been in control. And now, now I have to co-author something. That is hard for me. I know I’m not alone. So, for all you loner-scholars out there, I prepare my two cents on sharing the byline.