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

Katie Caskey

Katie Caskey

I am now in my second, and final, year of the MA in Children’s Literature program here at Simmons! I am originally from Duluth, MN and am proud to be a Midwestern gal making her way in the big city. Disney is my love language, and future career goal, and I am always ready and willing to geek out over the newest trailer or theme park announcement. When I’m not doing homework or watching Disney movies, I can be found serving at my church, working the front desk at the Simmons College Sports Center, or sipping a pumpkin chai at Starbucks (don’t judge…they’re fantastic).



Entries by Katie Caskey

  • A Weekend in the Big Apple

    Last week I posted about the process of packing for and anticipating my upcoming trip to NYC. Well, as promised, this week I will share the highlights of what was one of the best trips EVER! The adventure began on Friday night when we caught a bus from Boston to Manhattan. Now, if any of you have ever ventured to New York, you will not be surprised when I tell you we hit a massive grid-lock on the freeway (at 11:30pm!) and ended up arriving at our destination an hour and a half later than we were supposed to. But we were so excited it didn’t matter! We woke up Saturday morning and went to stand in line for Rush tickets for some Broadway shows. If you don’t know, the Rush policy allows people to purchase suuuuuper cheap tickets (like $35) for shows that day, if they haven’t already sold the seats. We ended up getting tickets for both She Loves Me with Zachary Levi (swoon) and Fiddler on the Roof. Both shows were amazing,…

  • Planning for the Big Apple

    I’ve now lived on the East Coast for two years, and I have just loved it! Being from the Midwest, I’ve always been drawn to the history and culture available out here. I’ve tried so many new foods, learned to deftly navigate public transportation, and taken in quite a few shows, recitals, and art exhibits. But there is one thing I have sworn to do before I move away, and this weekend I’ll finally get my chance to do it! My roommate and I are neck-deep in the final planning stage of our first trip to New York City together! We’ve both been before, but it’s been quite some time since either of us has gone, so we are more than ready to get back to the energy of that wonderful city! I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t take advantage of Boston’s proximity to NYC while I was out here, so this trip is coming just in time (as I’m finishing up school and heading for home in May!) Because my roommate has…

  • Ode to Brunch

    I have just recently become a regular bruncher (forgive the pretentiousness, but I don’t know what else to call it). Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day, but the whole concept of meeting your pals on a weekend for some hearty breakfast food and acceptable morning alcohol (ie mimosas) isn’t something I encountered much in the Midwest. But since coming to Boston, my eyes have been opened to the great variety of possibilities that this mid-morning timeslot can hold. “What’s so great about brunch?” The food!!! Pancakes, eggs, hash, bagels, burritos, fruit…and the list goes on. And since you are technically combining two meals into one sitting, feel free to go wild with your ordering. Chocolate milk and coffee? French toast and bacon? SURE! The time slot. I consider myself a morning person, but even I can appreciate the gloriousness that is sleeping in past 8:00am. Brunch is the perfect excuse to sleep in and still feel like you’ve accomplished something with your day. The breakfast-y food tricks your brain into thinking…

  • I Wish the Weather Would Make Up Its Mind

    If you live anywhere in the Boston area, your Facebook feed has undoubtedly been filled with posts about the snow this last week. Either you are an incredulous new-comer to the unpredictability of New England springs or you are a hardened Bostonian, saddened by the reality of snow in April. But now, as I look outside, it’s pouring down rain. The snow is mostly melted, and I am seeing flowers and buds again. Later this week it’s supposed to be sunny and almost 60 degrees…before next weekend’s potential for snow again. However you feel about the weather, I think we can all agree that Boston needs to get it together and make up its mind! I could even get behind snow if I knew it was going to be around for a set amount of time and then be done! I just don’t like all this switching…it’s messing up my outfit planning, my reading selections, even my Panera ordering. After all, who wants to eat a salad when it’s 20 degrees outside? So, to help…

  • Playing the Waiting Game

    I have good news and bad news. The (very very) good news is that I am graduating in less than 7 weeks! Done! Finished with school! And while I have absolutely loved my time at Simmons, and in academia in general, I am very ready to begin the next (paper- and homework-free) season of life…which brings me to the bad news. As I am learning, this next season may be aptly titled “The Waiting Game.” I’ve been applying to internships and job positions since late January, and so far, no nibbles. The hardest part is that with the company I’m applying to, I can track my application progress on their website. So while I can see that my application is being considered, I have no way of knowing how long that might last or how serious that consideration is. So, I’m having to re-learn the art of patience that was drilled into me by my kindergarten teacher. This is enough to drive a planner like me crazy, by the way.  So I’ve decided that I’m…

  • Celebrating St. Patty’s Day!

    I am a sucker for any holiday that gives me an excuse to dress up! Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Fourth of July…all good outfit inspirations. And this week we have another! St. Patty’s Day is the perfect excuse to break out that green t-shirt or scarf, or you could go bold and try mixing some hues for a head-to-toe, Kermit the Frog-inspired look. But you don’t have to limit the green takeover to your own clothing. Our apartment will certainly be decked out in some four-leaf clovers, courtesy of my roommate’s kindergarten-teacher mom. And I plan on doing all my writing with a green pen that day as well. Moving beyond my own little world, I started thinking about how everyone else might be choosing to celebrate the beloved Irish saint this week. Thanks to the wealth of information that is Google, I was able to find some rather unique ways people out there are celebrating St. Patrick. Perhaps the most popular tradition originated in Chicago, where they die the river green every year for the…

  • Pop-Up Shops! Who Knew?

    Who is enjoying their spring break so far? I know I am! As I write this, I am simultaneously finishing up laundry left over from a weekend spent hosting my mom who flew in from Minnesota and packing for a wedding in Tennessee that I leave for tomorrow…no rest for the weary, but I wouldn’t trade these frund times for the world! So, in honor of the fun, bubbly, vacation-y mood I’m in, I”m taking a week off of blogging (or thinking) about anything remotely schoarly. Sorry, but I want to talk about donuts instead.  To be more specific, I want to talk about the maple bacon donut that I had a few days ago from the fun, new pop-up shop next door to my grocery store. This donut was perfection! First of all, it was HUGE, and, as we Americans know, bigger is always better when it comes to sweets. J The frosting was rich and maple-y without being too strong, and the bacon was real fried bacon, not those stale smoked bacon bits…

  • Playing the Hostess

    I am so excited because it is finally March! This means that spring has sprung (kind of), Spring Break is just around the river bend, and my mom is coming to visit from Minnesota!!!!!!! This will be the first time since moving me out here two years ago that my mom has been to Boston, and now that I’m settled I finally get to introduce her to my life on the East Coast. But how does one even begin to narrow down the huge list of possible activities, restaurants, and sites Boston has to offer when their guest is only going to be here for two full days?! Well, it’s taken quite a bit of list making and revising, but I think I’ve finally decided. So, without further ado, here are my Top 5 Things to See in Boston.   1)      Faneuil Hall This old state building turned shopping center is a great hub of activity to check out. There are usually street performers in the courtyard outside, and the building has that charming and…

  • Yay for Free Books!!!

    I will be the first one to admit that grad school is tough! There are papers to write, internships to complete, and that’s to say nothing of the one or two (or three) part-time jobs one has to work just to afford food and heat! But, you all know that already, so I’m not going to scare you/bore you with the woes of grad school. Instead, I want to take this time to highlight my absolute FAVORITE perk I’ve encountered in my time as a children’s lit. grad student at Simmons…FREE BOOKS!!!!!! Every year the children’s literature department holds their free book giveaway for all the students in the program. Many of the professors in the program are also book reviewers, so our department is sent many review and advance copies of newly-published or about-to-be-published books. As the year goes on the collection grows, filling the shelves in the book nook until there just isn’t room for anymore. It is then we all receive the much-anticipated invitation to come live out a book-lover’s dream. Each…

  • Sick Day: A Photo Journal

    Yesterday I woke up and immediately knew my time had come. Yes, I had finally caught the dreaded 24-hour flu bug. I so rarely get sick, it came as a bit of a surprise, but regardless of how I felt about it there was no denying…I was sick! I’ll spare you the details of what “sick” meant in my case, but I will tell you that getting up off the couch to take a shower at one point almost killed me. So, I hunkered down and made the best of a nasty day. Usually when I feel like this, I love to be a home with my mom, snuggling on the couch and eating her miracle-working scrambled eggs. But since my mom is all the way back in Minnesota, I had to fend for myself this time. Here is my magic formula for self-healing as a graduate student… A big comfy couch, preferably with cozy blankets and pillows A laptop computer to fend off boredom And what good is a laptop without your favorite binge-worthy…

  • The Legend of the Famously Curious Monkey

    In honor of this year’s Chinese zodiac animal, I would like to tell you all a story about what is, perhaps, the world’s most famous literary monkey…Curious George. I preface this post with the acknowledgement of the story’s source, Anita Silvey. Anita is a professor of Children’s Literature here at Simmons. She has worked for many years in the publishing industry, served as the editor of The Horn Book review journal, and has published a book (and a blog) called Anita Silvey’s Children’s Book-A-Day Almanac, in which she highlights a different children’s book for each day of the calendar. Because of her many years in the industry, she is full of remarkable behind-the-scenes stories of some of our favorite books’ publishing histories. When I took her class on Publishing I got the chance to spend an entire semester listening to her wonderful tales. Here is one of my favorites… Hans Rey, creator of our favorite mischievous monkey, and his wife Margret were living in Paris in 1941 during World War II. Just three days before…

  • Ice Cream: The Only Good Thing About a Warm Winter

    I don’t know about all of you, but I am NOT happy about this crazy warm “winter” we’ve been having this year. I want snow, and hot chocolate, and ice skating, and cold cheeks and noses! I do NOT want to walk out of my house in a spring jacket and be sweating from the humidity before I reach the train station. Last night, in particular, I was really feeling steamed about this heat wave. So, I decided to make myself chilly, even if it was 50-some degrees outside. (I should explain that I’m from Minnesota, so the cold is in my blood…it’s a part of me…I need it). Anyway, I headed to the freezer, dug out a carton of cookie dough ice cream, and prepared to make my own winter experience. As I settled onto the couch and started munching, my brain began to wander, as it does, and I got to thinking about ice cream. It’s just the most wonderful treat, and it’s so customizable! You can make it fruity, chocolatey, hard, soft,…

  • Not Much Happenin’ Here…Or Is There?

    I’ve got to be honest…I am struggling with this blog post this week. I usually like to post about fun activities or cool experiences I’ve had in the past week. But this week has, thus far, been pretty event-less. I began the semester, and I started binge-watching episodes of Veronica Mars, which I would never have discovered if it hadn’t been for my professor including the first episode on our syllabus “reading” list. For that I am very grateful! But honestly, what do I write about in the doldrums of January? It’s not yet Valentine’s Day, I don’t have any papers to stress over, I still have a relatively firm handle on my homework load. I’m kind of coasting right now, and that doesn’t make for very interesting blogging. My apologies. ***A few hours and a few snacks later*** Alright, I’ve thought of something! Aren’t you relieved? Today’s post is for those of you who, like myself, feel like they are drifting through their first few weeks of the semester. Enough is enough! Time to…

  • The First Day of a New Semester

    Well, it’s that time again. Break has ended, we’ve all made our way back to Boston from our respective hometowns and states, and we are “ready” to start strong on a fresh semester of grad school. Here is this grad student’s minute-by-minute thoughts throughout her first day…and don’t judge. You all thought the same things! 10:00pm (the previous night) – “I’m going to set my alarm for 7:00 and give myself plenty of time to eat a good breakfast and get organized for class! Nothing like starting off on a healthy note!” 7:00am – “Curse you alarm clock!” 7:01am – “Snooze.” 7:10am – “One more snooze.” 7:19am – “Why, oh why, did I decide to get up this early?” 7:20am – “Ok, I’m up.” 7:30am – “Haven’t gone grocery shopping since I got back…guess it’s popcorn for breakfast.” 7:32am – “Yay! I found some cereal! My roommates won’t mind loaning me some milk, right?” 7:50am – “Nothing on this earth feels better than a warm shower.” 8:00am – “Nothing on this earth feels worse than…

  • A Christmas Gift for All the Bibliophiles on Your List

    In some ways, book lovers are the easiest people to buy a gift for. If all else fails, they will always be ecstatic to unwrap a new book. But wading through the infinite pool of possibilities to choose the perfect book (or book-related item) can be daunting at best. Enter this gift guide, complete with the best tried and tested book and gift options around! So before you head to the store this season, arm yourself with this list…and some sort of caffeinated beverage…and prepare to win at your holiday shopping this season!     For the traditional book lover…   In our glitzy, shiny, high-tech world, there are still those who love the dusty smell of an old book, love to crack open the binding and feel the coarse paper between their fingers. For the traditionalist on your list, steer clear of the chain stores with their e-readers and their paperback-filled shelves. Instead, visit your local used book store and hunt the racks for a hidden treasure. Maybe you’ll find an early edition of…

  • Blogs: The Perfect Remedy to Academic Article Overload

    I know that as grad students, we are never in short supply of something to read. Between class work, research, any reading for the plethora of part-time jobs and internships we take on, and just trying to keep up with the latest work coming out in our particular field, it is truly surprising that our eyes don’t just go on strike and refuse to read one more word! But if, by some miracle, you should find yourself in need of something to read, might I suggest exploring the vast world of the blogosphere? With writing of every skill-level on every topic imaginable, there is no shortage of 500-word snippets to tempt any literary palette. I know the selection pool can seem overwhelming, so allow me to suggest a few of my personal favorites to get you started. In no particular order, here they are… Anita Silvey’s Children’s Book-A-Day Almanac Link: http://childrensbookalmanac.com/ This blog is perfect for a librarian in search of a book for read-aloud time, a parent browsing for a new book for their…

  • This Blogger’s Ranking of the Best Book-To-Movie Adaptations

    With excitement building for the upcoming final installment of The Hunger Games film series, I got to thinking this week about other successful (and not so successful) book-to-movie adaptations. So here are my top five favorite movies that started as beloved books. ***NOTICE: I said MY top five. Agree, disagree, vehemently disagree…that’s fine. I’d love to hear your lists as well! My Regulations: I am only including films on the list that I have seen about books that I have read. Hence, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Twilight will not be making an appearance…cheer or grumble as you will. I am only including film adaptations of children’s books. I could go on and on about the plethora of Jane Austen movies (and I just might in one of these posts), but I have to narrow the field for this list. I am not including made-for-TV movies or miniseries. There are some wonderful creations out there, and it could even be argued that the miniseries is a better format for book adaptation as it…

  • Go See Some Art!

    I know that, for a graduate student, the concept of “free time” is like some ungraspable mist, always hanging nearby making you aware of its existence, but rarely solidifying into something practical and tangible and enjoyable. Because its appearance is so rare, it is important to make the most of it when it arrives. And Boston is never lacking in cool events to check out in that precious free moment. For a theatre geek like myself, one of my favorite discoveries over my last year and a half in Boston has been the Student Rush program. This program has been such a gift for my grad-school-afflicted wallet. For just $25 and a peek at your student ID, you can receive amazing tickets to some of the biggest Broadway touring shows in town! All you have to do is show up an hour before the house opens and show your ID! Now I know this sounds too good to be true, and while it IS true, there are a few downsides… You can only get one…

  • I Do Love a Themed Snack!

    I am currently waist-deep in my classwork for the semester and starting to feel the toll of the impending final projects, presentations, and papers, not to mention the weekly coursework I still need to stay on top of. But, thankfully, I was recently treated to a wonderful surprise that brightened my week and reminded me again why I love this school, this program, and my fellow students. One of the classes I am taking is entitled Victorian Literature, in which we are focusing particular attention on the subgenre of school stories. Well, as any lit. major knows, it is almost impossible to escape a Victorian literature class without encountering the infamous Alice and her adventures in Wonderland. Now, it’s time for a confession…I’ve never read either of the Alice books before this year. I’ve seen the Disney movie a couple dozen times, sure, but I entered this class and this book with fresh eyes. Well, Mr. Carroll did not disappoint. The whimsical characters, bright poetry, and charming word pictures were a welcome change from the…

  • “The Process of Submitting Call for Papers Proposals”, As Told By Picture Book Characters

    Step 1: You find the Call for Papers. It even aligns perfectly with your particular area of research and interest! You excitedly save the link to your bookmarks tab. This is something to seriously consider. Then the daydreaming begins. What if your proposal was accepted? You could be a published author in an academic journal! You have arrived! https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/ab/ff/4c/abff4c459eb3d169f4c0551b3086d071.jpg Step 2: You realize you actually have to write this proposal! Can anyone say “writer’s block”? While the prompt was most likely engaging and thought-provoking when you chose it, those original inspirations have quickly vanished into a cloud of confusion and self-doubt. How will I ever get this done when I have all of my other class work to do? Should I even be submitting something when I don’t have a degree yet? Am I an academic fraud? Don’t feel bad…we’ve all had these thoughts. The important thing is moving through this phase without completely halting all productivity. Even if all you can muster out of your overwhelmed and overworked brain is one sentence or idea…

  • Star Struck at the Horn Book Awards

    I think by now we can all agree that the SLIS programs at Simmons are pretty amazing. The small class sizes, the tight community, and the easy access to so many resources in and around Boston…all huge plusses. But, if you still need a bit more convincing, let me just say this…the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards! OK, the mere sound of these words may not make you jump and squeal like a schoolgirl (like they do me), but allow me to elaborate, and you will soon see why this is just the best. School. EVER!   The Horn Book Magazine was founded in 1924 and is still one of the premiere publications in the field of children’s literature, with a fun mix of academic articles, book reviews, and editorial comments. Spawning out of this publication’s outstanding reputation, the annual Boston Globe Horn Book Awards work to recognize excellence in three categories of children’s literature: picture books, fiction, and nonfiction. And, because of Simmons’ close partnership with The Horn Book, guess where the awards are…

  • Exploring Fantasy Worlds in Your Own Backyard!

    I have to give a shout-out to my Science Fiction and Fantasy professor for introducing me to this week’s blog topic! Last week our class was given the assignment to go and experience the map exhibition currently on display at the Boston Public Library. If you’re like me, you may be skeptical of this venture, wondering just how interesting could it be to go look at a bunch of maps in a quiet room somewhere in the depths of the library. Wait, hang with me, because I haven’t told you the best part yet…the maps are all from fictional lands of children’s literature!!!  Running now through October 25, the “Literary Landscapes” collection is on display in the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the main branch of the BPL (the one in Copley Square). Featuring both 2D and 3D maps (take that in…3D MAPS!), the exhibit introduces visitors to the extensive and detailed imaginary worlds created by some of our favorite authors. When you first step into the map room, you are greeted with a…

  • A Favorite Fall Outing

    The sun is shining, the breeze is crisp, I’ve broken out the heavier scarves…it’s official! Fall. Is. HERE!!! And very few cities do fall better than Boston, with the glorious leaves, the bustling crowds, and, my personal favorite, the Copley Square Farmers Market. Held every Tuesday and Friday from 11:00am – 6:00pm in Copley Square, the market features well over 20 vendors selling everything from watercolors to watercress.   Last week I ventured over to the market after my weekly trip to the library (which is conveniently right across the street), and as I wandered around I was struck by the rich variety of produce and farm goods the area has to offer. Some of my favorite tents included a lady selling artisanal cheeses made from her goats’ milk, a local greenhouse with some stunning bunches of sunflowers, and a bakery and bee farm selling homemade whoopee pies and locally-harvested honey.   But my favorite find of last week was the biggest, sweetest honeydew melon I have ever seen! It was the size of my…

  • A Checklist for the Perfect Coffee Shop

    Being from Minnesota, I do not handle the heat well. Give me -40 degrees and I am perfectly capable of layering up and venturing out into the tundra, but when it’s hot, as it has been here the last few weeks, I find my energy and motivation slowly wilting away. So, when last week saw the emergence of the pumpkin spice latte at various coffee shops around the city, I was ecstatic because I knew it could only mean one thing…fall is near! Any literature or library student worth their salt knows the importance of finding the perfect coffee shop. It provides the necessary atmosphere for contemplative writing, critical reading, and people watching when you Just. Can’t. Read. One. More. Article. But what exactly makes for the perfect coffee shop? When I first came to Boston, I set out to find my regular study spot but found it difficult to narrow down my search, given the enormous selection around the city. I will include my checklist of must-haves here, for those of you new to…