Getting ready to think about Grad School

As third year moves by at an alarming pace (it’s already the end of October?? what??) I’ve started thinking about my future — which, as many of you probably know, is the perfect way to send yourself into a spiral of despair in the middle of midterms. To try and combat this fear of my future I popped by Hart House to check out the Grad School Fair on October 2nd. It felt really strange being there because I felt like I had just been there during UofT’s fall open house during grade 12 — even though that was a full three years ago (!!! is this what getting old feels like?). As a third year its still a bit early to be thinking about grad school (or maybe its really late, maybe all the other third years already know where they’ll be going) but I’m generally a very keen person and to have a set 5-year plan at all times.

picture of several tables at the grad school fair in the Great Hall in Hart House university of toronto graduate school  banner There was a decent selection of schools at the Grad School Fair, although not really any of the big American or British universities that I’ve been looking at. U of T was out in full force of course and the Museum Studies program caught my eye as a potential program.banner with information about the U of T iSchool's Mater of Museum and Matser of Information studies programsBeing there made me realize that I’m not exactly sure what I want to study? Do I just want to do a MA and then a PhD. in history? Do I want to do Material Culture or Museum Studies? Can I even get a job with any of these? person holding several grad school view books in front of her face

These questions sparked google searches like sogoogle search "best history grad schools"  results are pages with lists of best schools with pretty expected resultsscreenshot of a list of top grad schools, Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard and Yale top the list

I still don’t really know what I want to do or where I want to do it but the Grad School Fair helped me get thinking about it (plus the Career Centre has a whole host of resources that are going to be very helpful) and it doesn’t seem quite as scary as before (although the price tags are still terrifying). table with brochures on it

Any forth years (or third) out there with Grad School advice for me? Anyone feeling super nervous about the whole applying-to-schools process again? Let me know in the comments below! 

 

 

Here Comes The First University Assignment! A Story from Not-so-Long-Ago…

So it’s the first of October, which means your first essay/test/some other form of evaluation is near. Before you freak-out because you just realized a month of school has already passed, never fear: I will tell you a little story from my first year that you may perhaps learn from.

My perma-face from first-year

My perma-face from first year

I remember my first class very well. It was seminar connected to the notoriously difficult TrinOne Program. But being from far, far, far away (aka Edmonton, Alberta), I knew none of this.

I sat down and I immediately felt awkwardly underdressed. Many of the folks in class where wearing nice sweaters and dress pants, if not ties and “casual” suit jackets whereas I was wearing my blue cheetah pants with a some-what plain flannel shirt.

Flannel is a Lifestyle

Flannel is a lifestyle

And then my prof came in. Now, to preface this story, my professor for this class turned out to be one of my greatest mentors (where I am today is thanks to him). Nonetheless, when he walked in, I felt incredibly intimidated. The room was dead silent.

He starts introducing himself.

“So you may have heard that I used to interview terrorists for a living.”

For the record, I heard no such thing.

 

“And although it was not a sort of James Bond type of job, that is a hundred-percent true…oh and by the way, I take plagiarism very seriously.”

EEEEEKKKK

EEEEEKKKK

“How am I going to make sure I don’t plagiarize? I mean there are millions of books out there! Someone somewhere is bound to have said what I have said at sometime, right?”

Now obviously I didn’t really understand what plagiarism meant, So when my first assignment rolled around I placed a footnote in every second sentence…meaning only half of the work would be considered my own analysis and thoughts. That problem, along with a bunch of grammatical errors and factual misconceptions, led to a pretty low mark. To be sure, I worked my little first-year tail off but I still ended up hugely disappointed and incredibly stressed out.

So, why did this happen?

 

The classroom that taught me how little I knew

The classroom that taught me how little I knew

Although it certainly had to do with my nerves from the first class, that essay could have been a lot better had I gone to a writing centre, the Academic Success Centre , or had I understood the concept of time-management.

Of course I did poorly because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t fix what I didn’t know.

And so I took that first assignment as a learning opportunity to do better on the next one. I bought some grammar books, I went to the writing centre, and I went to my professor’s office hours, and WHAM! I ended up with a fantastic mark at the end of the year and I was far happier and far less stressed.

More to the point, staying organized and being aware of the resources, helped me to maintain my mental well-being (and alliteration!) and ensured that I would not get all nervous and anxious every time I got a new assignment put on my desk.

 

Okay, my perma-face still in third-year

Okay, my perma-face still in third year

All for now,

Haley

 

Science Literacy and WW1 at the Rare Books Library

If you’ve read any of my blog posts before, you may know that I really like books. I’ve blogged about Fisher Library in the past and just last week I blogged about used book sales on campus.  Although I rarely have time to read for pleasure during the school year I still like to surround myself with books as much as possible, SO I took another trip to the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library last week to check out a special mini exhibit of some of the most important scientific books from history that they were showing as part of Science Literacy Week. Even though I’m not a scientist by any stretch of the imagination, I still appreciate these works for the scientific advancements that they’ve resulted in, and the historian/bibliophile in me just can’t resist an old book of any subject.

If you missed the mini exhibit and still want to check out some of Einstien or Darwin’s work you can submit a request to look at individual books through the library website. 

a shot showing a book by Euclid that has been translated from Greek to Arabic. The book is from 1594 and was printed in Rome.  a close up of the title page of a book that reads "construction of the great Victoria Bridge in Canada". On the small portion of the page opposite that is visible is a painting of the Bridge. a picture showing a copy of De Magnete by William Gilbert open on a desk. The page shows a Compass showing declination. a copy of Isaac Netwon's Opticks from 1704 laying open. the book is very aged looking and has very uneven edges. six books lying open to random pages on a table with discription cards below each one.    a title page (or perhaps a short pamphlet) By Albert Einstein lying on a table. The title is in German: Die Grundlage der allgemeinen Relativitäystheorie which is in english: Foundations of the General Theory of Relativity  two pages from "the expression of the emotions in man and animals" by Charles Darwin from 1872. The placard beneath this says they are corrected proof sheets.

While I was there I also took a look at the current exhibit: “Fierce imaginings: text and image in First World War literature” which was really cool (and runs until December 19 so there’s plenty of time to go back and check it out)

Three propeganda posters from world war one on a wall. The first says "A reminder" and has some smaller text that can't be read from this distance. the second shows a youth in what looks like a scout uniform resting one foot on a drum and leaning over so his elbow is on that knee and his head is propped on his hands. Behind him in the poster are other posters encouraging people to enlist. The text of this poster states "everyone should do his bit. Enlist now." The third poster shows a women standing on a rock in the sea with a blue bliiowing toga-like dress and a red hooded cape. She is holding a sheathed sword in one hand and both arms are flung wide, she looks very passionate. In the background is a redish orange sky (like a sunset) and a ship in the sea. The text says "take up the sword of justice"

several open books and front covers of books are shown in a display case. the books are all from the first world war. The ones in focus say "Frightful war pictures" another says "the Huns Handbook"

several books of the poems of Wilfrid Owen are displayed. One is open to show a picture of him while another shoes a strange line drawing that kind of looks like a lion and a person at the same time.

 

A History Student’s Guide to UTSG Campus

The other day I was thinking about the summer before my first year and how excited I was to start at U of T; at this point 2 years ago, (2 weeks into my summer vacation) I already had a detailed packing list, thought I had my entire degree planned out, and was just all around super keen. I knew where I would be living and had toured my college a couple of times however one thing that I didn’t know much about was where my actual classes would be. I had heard a lot of History classes were at Sid Smith (which I vaguely remembered from my U of T tour) but aside from that I was clueless.

Now halfway through my History Specialist I’ve taken quite a lot of History classes in a variety of buildings so I thought I would put together a post showing some of the locations of History Classes. If you aren’t planning on being a History major you may still find this useful as a lot of VIC, English, History and Philosophy of Science, and French classes take place in these buildings at Victoria College as well.

 

Isabel Bader Theatre (BT) only has one lecture hall but it’s probably the nicest lecture hall I’ve been in at U of T. If you take HIS109 it will probably be in here along with some of the larger second year classes.DSCF3591DSCF3588  

Northrop Frye (NF) has a mixture of lecture halls and smaller classrooms plus a lot of professor’s offices.DSCF3613DSCF3615

Emmanuel College (EC) is also at Vic and is mainly used for tutorials. It’s super handy when you have a class at Bader or Northrop Frye and a tutorial right after at Emmanuel.DSCF35681

Sidney Smith Hall (SS) is where the History Department is located (up on the second floor) and also hosts quite a few classes and even more tutorials. I don’t think I’ve had a semester go by without a tutorial in here. Sid Smith also houses the Linguistics, Political Science, Psychology, Stats, and Geography departments and due to it’s location on St. George, it’s ample seating areas, and the Sid Smith Cafe it’s a pretty busy hub of student life. DSCF3644

DSCF3649

The history department (including the student lounge where TA’s will often hand back/accept essays) is behind these doors. It’s on the second floor when you go up the stairs at the north end of Sid Smith and took me about 20 minutes and 5 text messages to find it in first year.

Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories (LM) doesn’t seem like a spot in which you would find people learning about Russian History but because U of T is a mysterious place in which many things do not make sense many a history course takes place here right along side science classes. It’s right next to Sid Smith on St. George street so it’s pretty convenient if you have a block of classes in a row that are all in mysterious science buildings. DSCF3655

DSCF3669

mysterious window decorations

 McLennan Physical Laboratories (MP) is another example of U of T not making sense. There is a tiny little place in this building where you can buy snacks and also chocolate soymilk which is a necessity on days when you have long blocks of class and no time to eat. DSCF3661DSCF3666    

Lillian Massey Building is not a history building but I just love the history behind it. It used to be the department of household sciences for the women at U of T in the early 1900s but now houses the classics department (who couldn’t have picked a more appropriate building) and a Club Monaco. The inside is basically all marble and has really pretty stained glass windows.  DSCF3639 DSCF3627 DSCF3625        

Convocation Hall is also not a history building but if you’re entering your first year at U of T it is very likely that you will have a class in here. It’s big and imposing but if you sit near the front or on one of the sides you forget about the fact that there are 1200+ students sitting in there too. I’ve also heard many a tale of it having wifi now but I don’t know if I believe that. DSCF3672

So there you go! A little post that hopefully helps you see where you might be taking classes come September. Once you enrol in your courses on ROSI you’ll be able to see the location codes and plug them into this map so that you’re ready for September!

Looking back at U of T

Hi all!

My name is Amie and I’m going to be the photoblogger for the next year! I’m a third year student studying History and Material Culture. I love history a lot and since U of T was founded in 1827 it has a lot of history in its halls. Looking through the university archives (http://www.heritage.utoronto.ca/UTA/Imagebank) is an amazing way to get an idea of what U of T was like in the past, what students used to do, and how buildings have changed over the years (one of my favourite pictures shows a bunch of awesome VW Bugs in front of Innis. Sadly I couldn’t make it work for this post so I’ll leave you to hunt for that one on your own).

Below are some images from the archives imposed on current photos of campus – a little time machine of sorts.

This "Feather Fair" took place on Front Campus in 1949. What is a Feather Fair you might ask? I have absolutely no idea but hey it only cost 15 cents to enter. Rad  Source

This “Feather Fair” took place on Front Campus in 1949. What is a Feather Fair you might ask? I have absolutely no idea, but hey it only cost 15 cents to enter. Rad
Source

"Chancellor and officials, exit University College during convocation, 1920." I took this picture directly after a long procession of graduating UTM students walked out those very doors. Two processions nearly 100 years apart that looked very much the same.  Source

“Chancellor and officials, exit University College during convocation, 1920.”                                                                                                                                                                   I took this picture directly after a long procession of graduating UTM students walked out those very doors. Seeing two processions nearly 100 years apart that looked very much the same was kind of awesome.

Source

Students in Military Uniform in the Hart House Library c.1943. Source

“Students in Military Uniform in the Hart House Library c.1943.” This is probably my favourite picture of the Hart House Library. 

Source

1951 Royal Visit of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. How many times have you walked those steps? You've walked the same steps as the Queen. You're basically royalty now.  Source

“1951 Royal Visit of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh.”      How many times have you walked those steps? You’ve walked the same steps as the Queen. You’re basically royalty now.
Source

"Robert Falconer followed by Wilfrid Laurier walk across the front campus at the Special Convocation for the Installation of President Robert Falconer. 1907."   Source

“Robert Falconer followed by Wilfrid Laurier walk across the front campus at the Special Convocation for the Installation of President Robert Falconer. 1907.”
Source

And So It Begins!

Well, the first week has been off to a good start, albeit a little bit hectic. (#firstdaystories How was your week?) It’s funny how things turn out, really.

Here’s what happened to me:

hotdayrun

I have one course this semester. I often feel reluctant to tell people this, because usually they scowl and say they hate me. But that is just how my university career has worked out, and I’ll be honest—it’s pretty sweet. I feel a little like this guy:

source:http://l-o-t-r.tumblr.com/post/44019175865/why-is-this-page-so-awesome-its-now-my-go-to-for-epic

source:http://l-o-t-r.tumblr.com/post/44019175865/why-is-this-page-so-awesome-its-now-my-go-to-for-epic

Or, at least, I want to feel like that guy. The class is one night a week, two hours, mostly reading—easy!

It was on Wednesday, which happened to be the same day as my Life @ U of T Community Crew meeting. The meeting was at 4 pm, and the class was at 6 pm, so it was fine.

I decided to use my morning wisely. I did laundry. Oh, the joys of living independently!

source: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/home-alone-gif

source: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/home-alone-gif

The laundromat is close to my house, so I can go home between cycles. It takes six trips altogether to finally clean my clothes. While I’m waiting around at home I usually read, or watch a bit of a movie, visit the internets, or, as I decided to do on this particular day, I work out.

Why did I choose the hottest day in September to start a healthy exercise routine?

source:http://a-gif-for-you.tumblr.com/post/25312355771/when-people-ask-you-what-day-it-is-during-summer

source:http://a-gif-for-you.tumblr.com/post/25312355771/when-people-ask-you-what-day-it-is-during-summer

But once I was good and exhausted and thoroughly drenched in sweat, I threw on a quick set of clothes, and ran out to grab my laundry. It was 3 pm. When I got home I was going to shower, change (into clean clothes), grab my books, my bag, and head off to my meeting, and then my class. I was feeling exactly like this guy:

source:http://www.reactiongifs.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/clintnod.gif

source:http://www.reactiongifs.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/clintnod.gif

And that’s when everything went ridiculously wrong! I had forgotten my keys!

There I was, stranded outside my apartment, burning up in the 40-degree heat, sweating buckets, underdressed, no books, no bag, holding a huge sack full of shirts, shorts, socks, and underwear, and time was ticking!

Luckily, I had my wallet and my cell-phone. But, of course, it was starting to thunderstorm! I really had no choice. It was almost 4 pm. I had to go!

I took the subway to St. George station (blessed TTC!). Along the way, I realized I had forgotten to find out where I my class was being held. Also, the room had been changed for my Life @ U of T meeting, so I really had no idea where I was going.

Find a computer, public access Internet! So where did I go—Robarts! I looked up the building code and room number for my class, and found the new location for my meeting. Then I hit the washroom, rinsed my face, and changed into a clean shirt. Turns out laundry is pretty useful to carry around.

source:http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/will-ferrell-gif

source:http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/will-ferrell-gif

Well, not that good, but I was feeling better. I went to my meeting, met some new people, ate a Timbit or two, and then hurried through the rain to my class.

And my class was great!

It was introductory, but the readings sounded new and intriguing, and the professor was very enthusiastic, which is of paramount importance for evening classes!

In the end, it was a good first day. Unexpectedly hectic, but good for just that reason. It was a jumpstart back into managing my university career. At times things can be chaotic and uncertain. There will certainly be surprises. But that’s life, really. Who knows what will happen? I’ll do what I have to do, and hopefully in April I’ll feel like this guy:

source:http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m039l83fru1qm135p.gif#i%20feel%20good%20gif%20500x275

source:http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m039l83fru1qm135p.gif#i%20feel%20good%20gif%20500×275

 

‘Til we meet again, U of T, stay diamond!

 

-Stephen.

Why I love U of T

With Valentine’s Day on our collective consciousness I thought that now would be an ideal time to share with all of you the things I love about the institution I have dedicated the past five years of my life to. While the University of Toronto receives a lot of negativity from students for a plethora of reasons I won’t get into here, I am ultimately happy I chose to pursue my undergraduate education at the U of T and with the onset of graduation in a few short months I know that I wouldn’t have wanted to attain my degree anywhere else! Here’s why:

The history

Did you know that the University of Toronto (which was founded in 1827 as King’s College) is older than Canada? I bet you also didn’t know that University College and Victoria University’s Annesley Hall are considered National Historic Sites by the Canadian government! Throughout the university’s long lifespan, many prominent Canadians have called it home, a short list including: William Lyon Mackenzie King, Lester B. Pearson, Adrienne Clarkson, Malcolm Gladwell, Naomi Klein, Margaret Atwood, Donald Sutherland, Harold Innis, Northrop Frye, Marshall McLuhan, C. B. Macpherson, etc. et. al. You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate university’s long legacy as one of Canada’s premier academic institutions!

The campus

The University of Toronto is an oasis of learning and self-discovery amid the hustle and bustle of Canada’s most prominent urban environment. The campus itself is beautiful, an appropriate mixture of centuries-old buildings and urban planning mixed with modern innovations and cutting edge architectural design. It is easy to forget the sheer beauty that defines the U of T campus as you simply keep your head down in a rush to class in the mid-February cold. Due to its location in Toronto’s downtown, the university offers its students exposure to unique social, economic, and cultural experiences that can only be found in highly developed metropolitan centers.While I can only speak to my experiences with the St. George campus, I hear that the Mississauga and Scarborough locations are nice as well for reasons unique to them!

The Faculty

While not everyone will agree with this assessment, I can honestly say that I have generally had a positive experience with most of my Professors and instructors during my 5 years as an undergraduate student. Faculty are, on the whole, passionate about what they teach and are excited to share their knowledge with you. Some of the most prominent intellectuals and academics today can be found on the Faculty lists of U of T’s various departments and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to study under them.

The students

Perhaps the most important category on this list, the University of Toronto student body is all at once intelligent, sophisticated, socially engaged, and welcoming. While I can only speak to my own experience, some of the most intelligent people I have ever met and some of the best friends I ever hope to meet are University of Toronto students. Canada’s future leaders, intellectuals, and innovators can be found sitting next to you in any given lecture and I am often awestruck at the caliber of student found at the U of T.

The libraries

An appreciation of the wide variety of libraries and the vast collection of academic materials within them is something we as students tend to neglect when thinking about our time at the U of T. Very rarely have I sought to take out a book from one of campuses libraries and found it unlisted. The University of Toronto Libraries is the fourth-largest academic library system in North America — we should not take it for granted.

The prestige 

Call me pretentious, but I enjoy my association with one of North America’s (if not the world’s) premiere institutions of higher learning. There’s a reason students from all around the globe flock to the U of T for study.

Let me know why you love U of T in the comments!

Give me a W!

The women's intercollegiate hockey team, 1926.

The women's intercollegiate hockey team, 1926.

And then an o-m-a-n. That’s right, woman! March 8th is International Women’s Day. And there has never been a better time to celebrate our presence on campus.

The long history of female progression within the university hierarchy is a great story. Here’s some women’s U of T trivia to put in your back pocket and pull out when you want to impress others with your handle on the history of women at U of T.

In 1875, Grace Annie Lockhart became the first woman in the British Empire to earn a Bachelor’s Degree at Mount Allison College in Sackville, New Brunswick. Trailblazers like Lockhart became inspirations for other Canadian women who wanted a higher education. Here at the University of Toronto, the late 1800s saw notable female figures carving new paths for women on campus.

Clara Benson, whose name was given to the first female athletic centre on campus, was one of the female students from the late 19th century who pushed the boundaries and accomplished great things. During her undergraduate years, Benson championed co-ed sports on campus and was a member of the first co-ed team (golf). And here’s a fun piece of trivia: in the late 1800s there was a 13-hole golf course that ran throughout the university grounds from Bloor to College.

The University of Toronto was the first school to produce a female graduate in Law. In 1897, Clara Brett Martin graduated and became the first female barrister in the British Empire. It is impossible to imagine how difficult it must have been for Martin to succeed as such a minority. Her words encapsulate this much more eloquently than mine ever could:

“If it were not that I set out to open the way to the bar for others of my sex, I would have given up the effort long ago. You would not believe how many obstacles I have had to overcome single-handed.” -Clara Brett Martin 1899 (1874 – 1923)

(quoted from http://www.law.utoronto.ca/students_content.asp?itemPath=2/18/8/0/0&contentId=1274)

As women, we owe these pioneers our greatest gratitude. International Women’s Day is a forum to impart this history and knowledge to current students. This is an important piece of history that all female students should be aware of. It was not that long ago, only just over a century, that women were the unwelcome minority on campus. An examination of the progress women have made within the university can serve as inspiration for groups that are still being marginalized.

The Status of Women Office is organizing many of the events on campus for International Women’s Day. There are events occurring on campus and throughout the city, from theatre to lectures, there is an event for every woman and man (who of course are welcome to attend).

On Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Hart House Circle, you can participate in a Chalk Chase! Presented by Hart House and the Faculty of Physical Education and Health, this is one of the first sports played by women on campus. From the description, I would describe this is an elaborate game of tag, with hints of hide and go seek.  It sounds like it will be a blast! The Department of Physical Education has a list of “active” events for Women’s Day.

Happy International Women’s Day!

-Lori

Mmmmm…books!

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday! I did. The best thing about the break was that I finally had some spare time to read for pleasure. I love reading. I read all genres, whatever the book – as long as it has a few believable characters, I’m along for the ride. I usually have a few books waiting on the bench for their turn to become my latest mental feast. But this break I found myself without any new reading material.

The only book store I have been to since September is the U of T Bookstore. Which is very sad, but nevertheless was necessary to get through the term. To my delight on this holiday break, I had a great reason to go book shopping!

I have a few favourite bookstores in the downtown core but, I thought it would be great to review some of the independent book stores near campus. I tend to lean towards used bookstores only because they are cheaper, but there are some good new book stores near campus too.

I started out on the west side of campus which is quite close to my very favourite bookstore ever, Seekers. Seekers is located at 509 Bloor Street W, between Bathurst and Spadina underneath Kilgour’s restaurant. Seekers reeks of incense and it is divine. I have books from Seekers that I purchased years ago that still emit the lovely aroma of Nag Champa incense. Apart from the lovely stinkiness that is Seekers, they also have a really great selection of used fiction and non-fiction books. They are open seven days a week from noon till midnight, which is perfect if you are wandering down Bloor at night with nothing in particular to do. You can sit and read in this store relatively unbothered for hours.

The Bob Miller Book Room is a really unique independent book store that stocks a wide range of humanities and social sciences books. You may have purchased a textbook from this store for an art or history course. They stock a lot of interesting non-fiction. They are an academic bookstore yet they carry an intersting range of material that you may want to read for pleasure. The store has the feel of a library and is very quiet. Their specialty is art, history, and music. They are located on Bloor near bay at 180 Bloor Street West in the Lower Concourse. They are really easy to miss, so keep your eyes peeled.

Right near Campus on Spadina is Ten Edition Books.This an eclectic little book store filled with not only books but memorablilia. Rooting around this store is a pleasure for any bibliophile. They are located a hop skip and a jump from campus at 698 Spadina Ave. just north of Sussex.

If you are a woman, or a fan of women, you may enjoy The Toronto Women’s Book Store, located at 73 Harbord St. This store specializes in books that deal with anti-oppression, politics and feminism. A visit to this store may rekindle your inner feminist!

If you happen to get a chance to browse for new reading material try out these independent book stores. If you love reading, going to these great little book stores is like going on a treasure hunt! I may just be an enormous geek, but I think this is a great way to spend a lazy Saturday.

Happy New Year!
-Lori

The Bound Paper Thingy Affair

BOOK

Mental note to self, this is called a BOOK!

Empress Irene was playing hard to get.

I had been trying in vain to research this stealthy 8th century ruler of the Byzantine Empire for five days and I was coming up empty handed. Last year I had gone on a tour of the monolith that one of my professors affectionately refers to as “Fort Book”. The Robarts tour was informative and it had included a 45 minute workshop in e-resource search engines. So as I began my research, I purposefully typed Irene’s name into the scholars portal search engine. I employed all the steps that I had been taught. But, Irene was not materializing in cyber space.

Sometimes when I’m craving a sweet, I will look into my fridge over and over again in the vain hope that a tasty treat will become visible. I keep looking even though I have already looked in the fridge ten times. I think I’m hoping that a chocolate cake, will magically appear behine the mayo. After spending four hours late one night typing the same keywords into the search fields over and over again, I realized Empress Irene was no more likley to appear on my laptop screen than a cake was to appear in my fridge. I have been told the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Empress Irene was driving me crazy. I knew I needed professional help.
I recalled being told about a service that is offered through the libraries, to help students do research for papers. I found the site to book a research consultation on the library’s main site,
It was two days later when I met with Dave Hagelaar at Kelly Library. Dave was great! I didn’t even have to explain to him who Empress Irene was. He was already well aware of her historical significance and the fact that she was a very cheeky Empress to research.

The Research Consultation Room at Kelly Library

The Research Consultation Room at Kelly Library

In my week of searching I had found one article about Irene. Dave found eighteen in a matter of minutes. I was unable to find any e-resources. Dave found five.

Dave is my new hero. He not only showed me that the articles existed, he also taught me how to find them. Did you know that if you leave the search field blank and press go, the search engine pulls from a much wider group of databases? I didn’t. Did you know that if you put an asterisk at the end of a word in a search field that the engine will pull up that word and every conceivable ending for that word that occurs within the database? I didn’t.

At one point, in trying to explain to him that my search had yielded only books, so excited was I that I couldn’t recall the word book. It came out something like this “all I can find are those bound paper thingies”! I’m not usually this dense…but in the dark, scary pit of researching an elusive historical figure, the blinding light of rescue is just that, blinding. The overwhelming relief I felt, coupled with the mental processing of new search methods left me short for words.

I am happy to say that I have now found Irene. She’s in my binder. It’s okay if she executes a successful escape because I now know where to find her.

Kelly Library’s research consultation service is brand new this year, so it’s not hard to get an appointment. But do it now…before word gets out about how great this resource is. Research consultations are available by appointment at most of the main libraries on campus. According to Dave, Kelly Library receives a mix of appointment requests from undergrad and grad students. So this resource is really for everybody.

Happy Researching!

-Lori