We know you’ve been missing his “Exploring the Magic of the Leatherby Libraries” blog series, because we have, too. Sharing this week what he’s missing most about working in the Leatherby Libraries as part of our Leatherby Students from Home series is Jimmy Elinski. Since the transition to online-only instruction in mid-March, our student employees have been away from the Leatherby Libraries, but we’re so happy that, along with other Chapman University employers of student workers, we’re able to continue paying our student employees for the duration of the semester.

1. What has been the most challenging aspect for you of studying from home so far, and how did you overcome it?
For me, the best places to focus are public locations such as libraries and coffee shops. I thrive in crowded settings and different locations. I never could focus on schoolwork while I’m home because I get so distracted easily. I always say “I’ll do my homework in my bed” and then five minutes later, I’m accidentally taking a nap that I didn’t have time for. Being forced to study at home as opposed to going places has been really challenging for me. I try to do the best I can but it has not been easy. We have a backyard patio that I sit at when it’s nice out and that has been my temporary coffee shop to ‘escape’ from my bedroom. I’ve been finding different places in my house to sit and change up the scenery.

A black desk, with a silver Apple laptop, a mini globe, three small plants, a black lamp, a few desk tools, and two bright blue pieces of paper on it

Jimmy’s home study space

2. What do you miss most about coming in to work at the Leatherby Libraries?
I miss the Leatherby Libraries so much. I don’t consider working here just a job. I consider it a safe place outside of my regular college life that I go and I can leave everything outside and work on projects and events that I would ordinarily never experience. Working at the library has helped me broaden my knowledge of so many things: Russian Icons, sea slugs, the Sikh religion, and even my own heritage (that’s a story for another time!). There are so many things I miss about coming into work at the library. I miss walking into the office and talking with Laurie [Laurie Gates Cussalli, our Administrative Coordinator]. I miss sitting at the student desk and finding a way I can see people enter the office by looking at the reflection in the picture frame that hangs on the wall in front of me. I miss seeing everyone in the library office. I miss the small conversations we have on our way to and from things. I miss the interactions. I miss the people. I miss being in a place that makes me so welcomed. There isn’t just one thing I miss the most about coming to work. I miss the library.

3. What book(s) have you been reading recently?
Several years ago, I was at a book sale and there was this beautiful book for a dime. I opened it up and it was a collection of the world’s fairy tales from 1954. I immediately had to get it because I love fairy tales. When I moved to Chapman, I brought it with me. Currently, I’ve been reading a lot of different fairy tales from it, my personal favorite being The Emperor’s New Clothes.

A young blonde man wearing glasses and a white and blue t-shirt holds up a red and yellow patterned hardback book

Jimmy and his book of fairy tales

4. What remote resource(s) from the Leatherby Libraries have you been using the most while you study from home?
I have used the online databases that the library offers. I’ve specifically used the feature where you can search academic articles and journals online that you can then read from the website. If you need to find an academic journal, I highly recommend checking it out!

5. What is your number one piece of advice for other students learning remotely right now?
Find the little things that make you happy. Being an extroverted person, this entire experience has been extremely difficult for me to adjust to but where I have found the silver linings have been in little things that I enjoy, such as puzzles or talking with my friends on the phone. It’s hard to sleep, study, eat, and live in the same location constantly for weeks on end. But finding ways to escape the daily routine has been helpful for me.