Hitting the road: Student engagement roadshows

Penn State operates under the motto, “One campus, geographically dispersed.” Before I moved to Pennsylvania, my knowledge of state systems came from growing up in Wisconsin, under their UW system. UW Madison is the mothership, and while students might move between the various campuses, each campus operates on its own. Each campus has a library, with its own dean, librarians, staff, etc. Once I started at Penn State, I adjusted to the idea that we have one Libraries Dean, and many of my colleagues aren’t in the same location as me. Thank goodness for technology like Zoom, so while we would prefer face-to-face, we still can have a way to communicate and share ideas.

Part of my job description as the Student Engagement & Outreach Librarian is to help create a framework, vision, and approach to student engagement within the Libraries. This means I have the opportunity to work with my colleagues throughout the library, on many different campuses. It feels like a daunting task at times but it is also one of my favorite parts of my job.

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The 25th Year: Plane Delays and Thunderstorms

I recently celebrated my 25th birthday. It seems like a milestone, even though my 2:28 PM birth time passed without me truly recognizing it. I can now successfully rent a car without any help, can proudly say I'm a quarter of a century old, and no longer can boast that I'm in my "early twenties." I got to the spend the hours leading up to my birthday and then the day itself surrounded by friends and family. My office even got decorated (see image above). As you tell, my office now is the level of cozy you can expect from me. 

To get ahead of a potential quarter-life crisis, I joked with my friends I was going to "get my act together." Which essentially meant I bought myself a lunchbox and reusable grocery bag, replaced the burnt out lightbulbs in my office lamps, and cleaned my apartment. Small steps in a much larger process of living alone in your twenties. 

My 25th year has also started off with some travel. I'm currently in Knoxville, TN, preparing to attend The Collective, a library conference designed for new professionals that pushes for user generated content at a low cost. I've only heard good things about this conference and am excited to meet new librarians and learn. 

So this morning I took off to Knoxville, thinking it would be smooth flying. However, rain in Knoxville with thick clouds and thunderstorms bunch next to each prevented us from landing in the afternoon as planned. Instead, we were diverted to Greensville, SC for a little 3 hour airport adventure. In some ways, it was sort of surreal because it was somewhat sunny at the airport and just sixty miles from us, storms prevailed for three hours. But finally we all boarded, feeling a bit closer than when we left, and survive the bumps and waves to Knoxville. 

Although it the night was falling when I arrived, Knoxville seems like a happening place. There's some vibrant downtown areas, full of interesting and unique restaurants. Had I arrived at my normal 3 PM time, I would have explored a bit and eaten dinner with some other conference participants in a little dine around town. However, my delay prevented me from meeting up so I was on my own. I've been encouraged by my older friends that it's sort of a rite of passage, to eat alone and not feel bothered by it (which clearly I'm still adjusting to). However tonight I was in my element. I ate food, did a little people watching out of the corner of my eye, and read Roxanne Gay's newest collection of short stories (which are pretty great thus far). I've slowly begun to recover my itch to write and I imagine Roxanne will continue to inspire.

Watch out for some conference recaps this week and a more active Twitter account :)

Back in Business -- the Spring Break catch up

I'm back and man, has April come roaring in. I can't believe that I have under a month of graduate school yet. #TheBigSearch is getting bigger, but I'm optimistic that things could go really well really soon. Yet another year when April is a month of a big decisions.

It's week two after Spring Break and I finally feel like I'm back. Spring Break is great in many ways (lots of sleep, no formal classwork due, etc) but I always feel it takes a while to catch back up and get into the groove you've established since the start of the spring semester.

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