Category: Academics


I’ve been excited to recently start working at Elmhurst College’s A.C. Buehler Library. I was hired as a Reference and Circulation Desk Librarian Student Worker. Although I have just begun my new position, I’d like to pass on some words of advice to help you navigate the library a little easier.


  1. Printers – So, you’re all logged on and you have that important paper to turn in in 15 minutes. You hit print and the next little window after it confirming that you’re printing and you dash over to one of the whirring behemoths to retrieve your work. But nothing is happening. You begin to sweat. “Where is my paper???” you ask yourself frantically. And I have your answer: Log on to one of the Print Release computers using the same enumber and password you used to log onto the computer you’re trying to print from. You should see your request right away and the name of the printer it will gracefully slide from and just click “Print.” Soon you’ll have that toasty paper in your hands and you can be off to class. Also, another word of advice, if you’re printing a big powerpoint or any other kind of big file, it’s going to take a little bit longer to print.
  2. Saving Files – “Last night I came in and saved my big important term paper, but now I’m back on the same computer and I can’t find it, what happened?” Well, unfortunately, that file is gone. Every night around midnight, the computers are all cleared. This prevents them from being clogged and operating at snail’s pace because they’re bogged down with about a million files from hundreds of students. My advice is to work on Goggle Docs or have a flash drive handy so your work is not only saved in another location, but has portability. now you can work on it anywhere!
  3. Fines – Okay, I am very very guilty of this. Even though I’m an aspiring librarian doesn’t mean that I have a great memory. I have racked up some fees of my own. To pay those overdue (or missing book) fines, mosey right up to the circulation desk and tell them you’re here to pay for your sins (or fines, whatever). The lovely student worker or staffed librarian at the desk will scan your JayPass and will be able to see how much you owe. It’s required to pay the amount of money in cash, so have your bills/coins at the ready. Then they’ll clear your fines and you can go on to live another day to incur more debt. P.S. It’s also important to note that you don’t have to pay all your fines at once, you can give a few bucks as you find them, just make sure your fees are paid by the end of the year!


And with that, you have the basics of the library down. The librarians on staff as well as the student workers are available at both the reference and circulation desks and are always more than willing to answer any more complicated questions about the library, any research you’re doing, and sometimes just where the bathrooms are.


Future Scene Painter of America

As Spring Term and this chilly month of February starts, I’d like to take a step back and reflect on the recently concluded J-Term. For those who may not know, J-Term is an opportunity to take an intensive course during the month of January, and many courses that are offered during this time are typically not offered during the rest of the year. This post is mainly to slightly brag about how great the class I took was.


I was enrolled in Scene Painting with the tech director/Theatre Dad, Professor Rick Arnold. Although I shivered as I trudged across campus at the ungodly hour of 8:50 AM to arrive at the theatre at 9 AM to begin class, I was always sure to have a great morning when I got there. Rick instructed us on how to use different brushes and tools in order to make the most realistic and “successful” (as he termed it) paintings. We practiced by learning how to paint different textures and backdrops on our four allotted canvases/wood flats, as well as how to mix colors in order to achieve an image similar to the reference images he gave us. Wood grain, marble, foliage, and brick were only a few among the many different subjects of our paintings.






As we all toiled backstage hunched over our canvases, Rick walked between our taped off squares and observed us as we worked. He was incredibly helpful and supportive, giving us advice on different techniques to use and was always available to answer our questions. Playing off of the joke of him as our “Theatre Dad,” I would sometimes dramatically sing “Papa Can You Hear Me” from the musical “Yentl” to get his attention. He always had to remind us during the painting process that although it might kind of look like a disaster up close, our paintings were meant to be seen at a distance, so the little mistakes we made wouldn’t be noticeable. After we finished each painting and let it dry, we propped them all up against the wall for a class critique. By the end of the month, it was amazing to see how much everyone had improved.


For our final project, we had to paint a large canvas with an image of our choice and employ the techniques that we learned in order to create an image of the best quality we were capable of. I chose to paint a cobblestone path and, although Rick assured me that it was well done, my perfectionism won’t let me believe it.
Overall, I completely adored my J-Term class and, although Scene Painting is only offered once every five years, I would highly recommend it to anyone who might be interested.



Majorly Important

During my first year at Elmhurst, I was staunchly an English major. I did well in my English classes and I’m a pretty big fan of the written word. But this summer I did some soul searching and realized that an English major would not be entirely practical for my career aspirations. DON’T GET ME WRONG, AN ENGLISH MAJOR IS INCREDIBLY USEFUL AND VERSATILE AND YOU STUDY ENGLISH IF THAT IS WHAT YOUR HEART DESIRES. This is in all-caps and bolded because it is very important and I would hate to discourage anyone from pursuing a course of study that they are passionate about. I want to be a special collections librarian or an archivist and I realized that a history major would make more sense and better prepare me for that career path. I didn’t realize how much I missed history until I went a year without taking any history classes. But that doesn’t mean I’m letting my hard work in my English classes go to waste. Instead, I am flip-flopping my major and minor. I am still on track to graduate a year early, which is pretty exciting.


So, how do you go about switching your major? I consulted my best friend, who switched her major a few times within the course of the past year before I took any action. You would be surprised how easy it is. It’s really the decision to switch that’s the hard part. All you have to do to officially change your major is going to the advising office in Goebel Hall and grab one of the white half-sheets of paper from the desk and circle a few things and write down your name and student number. Then you mosey on down to your advisor and get their signature and bring the signed form back to the advising office in Goebel. Then, within a few days, BAM, you are officially majoring in a new course of study.


Moral of the story: Never be afraid to reevaluate your choice of major. I swore I would never change my major, but being inflexible would have damaged me in the long run. I was lucky that it did not affect my graduation time, but even if it did, I think an extra semester or year would be worth the preparation and education that would ultimately make me a more successful in the field I am pursuing.


Just a Minor Problem

I began the year adamant that I was going to minor in philosophy. I already had credit from a local community college that I dual enrolled in. I love the subject because I’m a big fan of thinking, I do it almost every day. But my black hole of a heart was aching for history classes.


Disclaimer: I am on track to graduate a year early, so every class counts. I would totally double minor, but that would put me off track. And, let’s be honest, a double minor (or whatever you minor in, actually) doesn’t mean a whole lot in, what I’ve been told is called, the Real World. But I want to spend time studying what I am more interested in, especially since, like I said, every class counts for me.


So I was faced with a dilemma. Much like Bella Swan in the infamously terrible Twilight series, I had to choose between two great loves: philosophy and history. I had to weigh my options and have a long conversation with myself about what I really want to be studying and, in true Kristen fashion, the practicality of each subject in terms of my major. And from that list I made my decision: history. It not only is it my first love, but also it’s super old and probably stands over my bed and watches me sleep, to, I want to say, protect me(?). The point is, I ultimately decided that my passion for history outweighed my passion for philosophy. I feel terrible for leading philosophy on, but one day it might fall in love with the fetus that may at one point develop in my belly and… Okay, this has gone too far, analogy over.


Now  I was left with a minor problem (both in terms of changing my minor and the actual size of the problem). I was easily able to find a history class that fit perfectly into the timeslot of the philosophy class I originally signed up for fall term next year. Then I had to go to Goebel Hall to change my minor. This is honestly one of the easiest processes ever. I walked into the Advising Office and filled out the little white sheet and within a matter of days, it will be officially official!


So just remember that if you have a problem with your minor, odds are it’s a minor problem.




Goodbye My Love

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.