Sometimes I come home from work and still can't believe that three weeks ago I straight up moved to Pennsylvania. I've settled into a routine at Penn State and it feels like home. The librarians and staff have been incredibly welcoming and supportive. I spend my days meeting with all sorts of fascinating people, learning the ins and outs of the Pattee and Paterno libraries, and attempting to remember as many names as possible.
I know it will take me a while to get completely settled, to learn the system, and figure out how to best be in my position. But I'm ready, more confident than ever that this is my profession.
Part of my job description includes working an atypical shift and spending lots of time with undergraduates. When I have some spare time I find myself spending some time getting to know the student workers. It feels natural to have a seat next to them and ask the questions I had tucked away from my time as a library supervisor in the residence hall libraries. I love their expressions when I tell them how big my undergrad was (1300) and that we only had one dining halls. Never fails to blow their minds. I feel it's those experiences and relationships that will help me be a good librarian for the PSU undergrads.
Of course, I do find myself with a ton of free time. As the adventurer I try to claim that I am, I have spent the past couple of weekends exploring. I've been on a couple of bike rides, and dealt with some HILLY Pennsylvania hills.
But I've been told that with practice, the hills become easier. I saw that during my second bike ride.
Nature is pretty neat.
I also explored the Palmer Museum of Art, which was lovely. They arranged the work by the nationality of the artist which places all sorts of interesting art (not from the same period) together. Currently the Palmer has a great photography exhibit by Steve McCurry. You might recognize his most famous photo, The Afghan Girl. But that one photo is just a drop in the bucket of breathtaking photographs in the exhibit. I had sort of forgotten what it's like to be in a space where you are so moved by the art that all you want to do is still there, staring at the same photo, trying to figure it out.
Of course I've checked out a couple of restaurants in the area so I'm gaining a little footing on what's good and where to go next. It's probably good I am doing the exploring right now; once those undergrads come back it will be hard to grab a seat!
My adventures also include trips to the public library (a big supporter) as well as just walking around campus trying to get my bearings. Like any big institution, there are lots of buildings and signage is sometimes less than ideal. As I walk from the commuter lot to the library, I see the streets laying out in my little mental map. It's a good feeling.
This weekend I'm hoping to make it up to the top of Mount Nittany but we shall see. State College has been rainless for a while and it appears that the rain might decide to stay a while this weekend. Cross your fingers for dry weather!