Archive for January, 2014

Goodbye My Love

Posted on: January 30th, 2014 by kgravelin 1 Comment

Today is my last official day of my J-Term class. I thought this month would never end in the best way possible. I’ve loved my class, touring different libraries in the Chicagoland area and actually learning how libraries work. I was actually inspired by the class to consider becoming a librarian. This conclusion of J-Term is very bittersweet. It’s a little bit of relief to be able to relax and not have to wake up at the crack of dawn to catch the Metra, but at the same time, I’m going to miss it.


Here are some of my favorite library moments:


The Rare Collections Room at the Chicago Botanical Gardens was amazing. Ideally, if I became a librarian I would love to work in rare collections. These are a couple pictures of some of the hundreds of years old books.



An adorable picture of me sitting on the Very Hungry Caterpillar at the Schaumburg Public Library. The children’s section is amazing and really cute.



A shelfie of me at the Chicago History Museum Archives. This was exciting for me mostly because Eric Larson visited here to do research for one of my favorite books, Devil in the WhiteCity (which is a nonfiction book about a serial killer active during the Chicago’s World Fair at the turn of the century).



The scariest Ronald McDonald I’ve ever seen at the Golden Arch Archives. It’s about seven or eight feet tall and it is terrifying. So glad its voicebox is broken.


Overall, I’m really going to miss all the traveling we did, and as an out-of-state student, it really helped familiarize me with the Chicago public transportation system, which I’m eternally grateful for.  I highly recommend taking The Great Libraries of Chicago during J-Term.

Chicagoan Misadventures

Posted on: January 17th, 2014 by kgravelin 1 Comment

As an out-of-state student, I was incredibly excited to start my J-Term class, The Great Libraries of Chicago. Luckily, one of my friends was enrolled in the class as well, and is very familiar with the city. She and I have taken advantage of the occasional free time we get between touring libraries and the earlier trains to explore the city.


After touring the enormous library at the University of Chicago, we were graced with a lunch break, where we bolted out to the food trucks and each had pulled pork on top of mac and cheese (which was actually incredibly delicious). Then we explored the campus a little more and made our way to the UChicago Chapel, where we accidentally crashed an organ concert.



I cannot describe how amazing it was to sit there and listen to the organ music (which was the most I had listened to in my entire life, despite only really catching the tail end). I can honestly say that I have gained a great appreciation for the instrument for the short time I listened to it, watching the organist’s dance across the foot pedals and the richness of the music. I went up to the organist afterward and we talked a little bit and I told him how much I enjoyed the show (which seemed to make his day, and he invited me to come back anytime).


Another day my friend and I took an earlier train and visited the Fine Arts Building before seeing the library at Columbia College. We went into the bookstore, which housed a store cat. I love cats, so I freaked out when I saw it walking amongst the books. It was very unamused by my affection (as most cats often are with human affection) and it only allowed me to pet it on the top of its head and around its face. I never learned its name, but I like to think we had a connection.




I’ve had such an amazing time thus far touring the libraries in and around Chicago, but the extra wandering has only enriched the experience. I highly recommend taking time between anything you’ve planned for a day in Chicago to wander around the city a little bit too, because it has so much to offer.

Unexpected Necessities

Posted on: January 13th, 2014 by kgravelin 1 Comment

Dorm life is fantastic, and I 1000/10 recommend it. The new freedom, the new people, and new experiences it opens you up to are indescribably great. However, with great power comes great responsibility, especially since you’re basically on your own, at least concerning caring for yourself and your room. As I’ve grown adjusted to dorm life, I’ve picked up some new tricks to keeping a up a lovely household (okay, just one room, but I do consider it home).


1. White vinegar is a life saver

Honestly, its magical properties are renowned in terms of cleaning. It is hands down the best way to get rid of stains on a budget. It has saved me so much time (and precious, precious quarters) on laundry. Spilled coffee on the shirt I just put on? No problem, get a paper towel, soak it in white vinegar, and scrub. Works like a charm and only costs a few bucks (depending on the size of container).


2. Lint rollers forever

How did I ever live without one? They’re already great for the obvious, getting lint off of clothes. But they are also amazing for cleaning carpet squares, rectangles, or whatever other shape of carpet you have in your room. I will say, it is a little gross looking at the lint paper after you’ve rolled it on your carpet a few times, but oh so gratifying at the same time. It works best on a shag carpet, but the results are wonderful no matter what. I feel so accomplished when I marvel at the cleanliness of my remnant after taking a lint roller to it.


3. Never underestimate the power of plants

Okay, this isn’t really a necessity, but I love having a plant in my room. And since I’m about as nurturing as a desert, I typically favor cactuses. Especially during the winter, it’s nice to see something living and green nearby. They make great pets: they will always spend time with you, they’ll listen to your problems, and they depend on you and will believe in you no matter what. My current cactus, The Archduke, makes a wonderful companion, especially since I feed him my old coffee grounds on occasion. It makes me want to adopt another.


Overall, trying to make your dorm room a cleaner and more personal place makes it pleasant and somewhere you’d like to be and bring people to hang out in, rather than just the place you happen to sleep at. Besides, it’ll keep your roommate happy, and who can argue with that?