Peers, Colleagues, and Friends...all in one!
Tuesdays are normally crazy for me this semester. Two classes, busy from 9 AM until 4 PM. Both classes are excellent, but require a lot of brain power and active discussion. Today however, was even a little more busy than usual.
The main spot where I do my digital literacy work for my assistantship is an after-school center called the Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center (UNCC). It's a wonderful place with exciting, energetic, and thoughtful students K-12. The head of UNCC is Mrs. Mitchell and she is one awesome role model. She so firmly believes in the power of community and working together to help everyone out. The center is up for a grant and they were having a site visit today. I left my first class a little early, biked over to UNCC, met many great supporters of UNCC, and then biked back for my afternoon class. Needless to say, my legs got a workout. But, it was glorious to bike to and fro and also support a place that has given me so much joy (and experience) the past seven months.
My afternoon class visited the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab(rication) Lab(oratory). While I have already spent much time at the infamous Fab Lab (they are working with us on the grant I mentioned above), it was nice to take another look around. I was coming up with all sorts of ideas of things I wanted to create. If I can squeeze in the time post Spring Break, I think I need to make some trips back to learn how to sew, use the digital embroidery machines, and figure out something to 3D print.
Post-class, our professor invited us out for coffee. It was great to have that interaction; lots of peers came along and it was nice to get to know everyone a little bit better. The atmosphere reminded me of my time at Coe -- sitting in my English professor's office and having them say, "Let's go to Brewed [the coffeeshop across the street]." I really value those small group interactions and am glad to see they still happen, even when I'm in grad school.
Coffee discussion wound down and I found myself in yet a smaller group of my peers headed to Green Street (full of restaurants) for food. We sat down to eat and time FLEW by. Suddenly it was a quarter to six and we were like, "Yeah, we have things to do." But it was great and one of those memories I keep reminding myself to have. Building relationships is important and these people are my peers, my soon to be colleagues in the field, and most importantly, my friends. Sometimes I get so wound up in all the work I have to do (or *should* be doing) I forget about giving myself time to decompress, talk, and enjoy the day and the people that are in it.