Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Abbey Metzler

My name is Abbey and I am a first semester student in the Simmons History & Archives Management dual degree program.

I grew up in a small town on the Mississippi river. From there, I went away to school at Syracuse University in upstate New York. At Syracuse I studied English Textual Studies and History, and learned to love a long, brutal winter. I got my introduction to archive work while studying abroad in Poland. When in Eastern Europe, I ate many pierogies and fell in love with working with book history materials. The Prohibited Library in Prague, and its collection of censored samizdat papers, inspired me to continue my education with a master’s in Library Science. I had realized that if we did not prioritize looking after the material evidence of history, then who would?

I spend my time reading good books and watching bad television. I like stories about haunted houses, running during the fall when the wind is a little too cold, and Taylor Swift. Boston has been my dream city for years. I look forward to writing about living here and the SLIS experience at Simmons. I will try to not gush about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum with every post, but after visiting there four times in just as many months I can make no promises.



Entries by Abbey Metzler

  • MBTA Pro Tip

    When I think about it now, in front of this blank word document I am typing out to any prospective SLIS students reading this blog, it had to have been around this time last year that I received my admittance letter. I can’t remember the exact date. But I can tell you I was in the network room of what at the time was my new job here in Boston. I was a part time and temporary employee; with no idea this would stretch into at least a year of work in that brown stone near the Commons. There are probably countless things that I could go back and tell myself; things that would have prepared me for the next steps and next few months after I opened my decision email from Simmons that afternoon. I think I’ve done okay without any of that hindsight advice. Maybe my future graduated self will wish to go back and inform this second semester History & Archives student of something. Right now though, the only concrete advice I…

  • Spring Sprint

    From the basket of laundry next to my bed, to the hundreds of unread and unorganized emails in my inbox, the evidence of this semester’s time crunch is everywhere I look.          The workload from my first semester at SLIS didn’t feel like a particularly far jump from the end of my undergraduate career. The reading was heavy, and the papers forced me to slow down and remember back to the kind of academic writing I hadn’t practiced in the year I took between my graduation from Syracuse and starting at Simmons. The three classes did keep me buzzing from one day to the next. But, in a mid-March reflection, I’m realizing now that this semester has been a whole other beast.             I run, often literally, from work, to class, to my LIS 438 field placement. Each of these pieces to my schedule is vital. I can’t miss class, or else then I’ll be behind in content and deadlines. Can’t afford to miss work and still be able to order the delicious food found…

  • Garden Archives

    Sometimes, the semester is busy and the world is loud. The long and short of this week’s blog post is that I need a distraction…             Today’s particular break comes in the form of the Smithsonian Archive of American Gardens. According to their website, the Archive “Collects, preserves, and provides access to visual resources that document the history of gardens in America” and “Inspires new ways of interpreting garden history and design so that America’s rich garden heritage can be better understood, appreciated, and enjoyed today and in the future”. All of these are very noble and worthwhile causes. But really, I turn to this Archive to see some lush, green vignetted photography when Boston is feeling slushy and the rest of the world particularly smokey.            The collection seems to be entirely digitized, and can be browsed by state, garden structure/furniture/feature, or by type. Looking for the familiar flora of your home state? How about indulging your pastoral interests with some topiary or trellises? If you’re like me and dream about that herb garden you…

  • There You Are

                Lately when I am not in class at Simmons, it feels like I’m only ever at my job. It isn’t technically a bad feeling in itself. I work, essentially, as records management at a financial firm right off the Boston Commons. When you squint, my job responsibilities look like archival work. I am tasked with taking the old files from my office basement, some older than myself and all slightly funky with various degrees of water damage, and digitizing, organizing, then shredding them. My closest colleague is our network room printer. He is large and one of the more temperamental machines that I have had the pleasure of toiling beside. I don’t do much appraising, just checking that the tax returns are over seven years old before I send them to the document organizer where all files go to die.             The problem is that this feeling of constant work is paired with the second semester of graduate school conviction that I am terribly behind everyone else. My work does not have a museum…

  • New Semester Nerves

    As a first Student Snippets’ blog post of the new semester, this is an admission of nerves. The first week of classes is never my favorite time of the academic year. I always feel a little lost, whether in the carefully arranged but still difficult to navigate online syllabi or when trying to find my new classrooms. This inaugural week of spring semester was hosted online. A brief but harrowing few days where I got to go back to the virtual learning environment I had escaped at the very end of my undergraduate career in 2020. We all grinned and got through it, seeing the lower half of our professors’ faces for perhaps the only time before summer arrives. These first week jitters alone would not warrant a blog post about them. What makes me take to this word document with a lingering sense of unease is my technology class. I have always imagined my archival ambitions through a haze of crumbling old paper and the smell of used books. It was always the History…

  • Travelogue

                    I am no stranger to travelling home from university for the holidays. Whether by plane, train, or automobile, I have taken many midsemester journeys home for Thanksgiving. Some of them are longer than the others. Driving over thirteen hours from New York to Illinois does not get easier after four years of experience. But, armed confidently with a full set of vaccines, it was finally time to fly home for the break after a missed year.                 Leaving Boston, I headed to Logan International after a full day at my admin job. Not my very finest and most awake travel decision, but when you wait until the last minute to book your tickets you are at the mercy of airline gods far above your understanding. In the pursuit of the least expensive tickets home, I ended up leaving on Monday. Ask anyone what the airports were going to be like this holiday travel week, and you would receive a message of apocalypse. Crowds and the associated chaos of the likes that haven’t been seen…

  • A Three-Part Guide to Daylight Savings

    On Monday evening, or really what I would call at most late afternoon, I sat at my desk in my office building watching the sun go down. Spring forward and fall back, daylight saving time has come to an end here in the United States.             I know that I am somewhat alone in loving winter. Five lake-effect snow laden years living in Central New York will do that to a girl. But, even I felt the spike of dread at watching the sky darken at an early 4:30pm. I know that a lot of Simmons students aren’t from New England, myself included. Winter here is not the same dusting of snow that shuts down major Southern cities. Before we also start to resign ourselves to hibernation until Spring, I thought I would share my plan to make our long, cold nights a little less daunting. Maybe these three tips will make you winter people yet. We are always looking for converts! Step 1: Read. I know. I know. We are all here in the…

  • Half-Time

    In October, I know how I am supposed to be spending my weekends. I’m not talking about the fabled New England leaf peeping or the apple and pumpkin picking we wait all year for. I mean that mid semester rush of projects and presentations and paper deadlines that loom large over the first half of the class and rush to arrive before any of us know it. The midterm season in graduate school is less defined than its undergraduate counterpart. While I used to have midpoint tests to look forward to, now my calendar is filled with a handful of assignments worth increasingly more percentages of my total class grades. It’s less a midterm schedule and more a mounting panic at how quickly the semester runs by. I spent the first few weeks at Simmons feeling like I wasn’t doing enough. And now, I wonder if it is worth bringing my laptop to work with me so I can look for entries for my next paper’s bibliography on my commute home. With my mental and…

  • Confessions of a Library Card Holder

                Reader, I have a confession. I, a Simmons Library and Information Science master’s student, have lived in Boston for over half a year now without getting my Boston Public Library card. The shock! The horror. I can hear the admonishments now. But maybe you, like me, moved to a new city during this time of great lockdown and weren’t sure how libraries were available to us with their front doors firmly closed and sanitized. That is why I write to tell you of my own journey for the little plastic card and the membership it represents. I decided to remedy my lapse in patronship during one of my library science classes. No, I won’t tell which one. It’s my first semester here and I want to make a good, attentive first impression on Simmons’ venerable professors. In said unnamed class, I pulled up the BPL website and found the page for their eCard registration. The eCard is available for anyone who lives or works in Massachusetts, even if you are only here part of…