I am a ... Chicagoan?

Katie's life: an update

Things that are crazy: This past semester. Also, I'll be a senior at KU in the fall? Things that are crazier: The last four weeks. Things that are crazier-er: I have lived in Chicago for seven days. 

 She did it! Kristina graduated from KU, and she's moving to Seattle in August. She's my lifeline, and I'm so happy the Universe brought us together in Lawrence.

She did it! Kristina graduated from KU, and she's moving to Seattle in August. She's my lifeline, and I'm so happy the Universe brought us together in Lawrence.

So, let's back track a bit. At the beginning of this month, I was still in classes at the University of Kansas. I had recently been hired to serve as the editor-in-chief at the University Daily Kansan for the fall semester. The first couple weeks of May were filled with a lot of intense emotions and anxiety surrounding hiring section editors at the Kansan, meeting with what felt like everyone in contact list, my final exams and projects for my classes, my boyfriend moving away, the prospect of my best friend graduating, and plans surrounding my move to Chicago/starting my internship. Then the second two weeks of May were filled with intense emotions and anxiety surrounding Kristina's graduation, packing up my apartment in about a day (sorry, Kristina), going home to Indiana for four days to visit Blake/ family/ greyhounds, moving to Chicago, and beginning my internship at the Chicago Tribune.

May has been a whirlwind, and I only feel as if I've stopped to take a breath right now. I've been constantly moving, missing people, adjusting, learning and generally feeling overwhelmed. But I think I have a handle on myself/life now, so we should be good for a while.

Chicago

My apartment is fabulous.

 My apartment building. It's a beaut.

My apartment building. It's a beaut.

I live in Wrigleyville, just two blocks away from Wrigley Field. I've been at home during two Cubs games, and it's been loud. Let me tell you. The apartment itself is quite large and has beautiful wood floors with woodwork throughout the entire space. Perhaps more importantly, the shower was made for tall people. That never happens! I thought I was doomed to perpetual shower-squatting for my entire life. Turns out, that's not the case. Anyway, back on track ... My roommates are also friendly, which is so comforting. A bit of random trivia for any KU Basketball fans — ONE OF MY ROOMMATES WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL WITH WIGGINS!

I haven't taken too much time to explore the city yet because, quite frankly, I've been physically and emotionally exhausted the last week. (However, I discovered a great coffee shop that's under my train stop. I bought a delicious breakfast taco and coffee for $4.) I promise I'll explore this amazing city soon! I need to decompress a bit first. Which leads me to ...

Chicago Tribune

Holy crap! I work there. (!!!)

Four days ago, I started a graphics internship at the Trib. So, Katie, what exactly does that mean? Well, let me tell you a bit about what I'll be up to this summer. 

The incredibly talented graphics staff at the Trib researches, designs and edits any and all graphics that appear in print, on social media or on chicagotribune.com. These range from information graphics to explainer graphics to illustrations, charts and maps. These graphics might explain a process, visualize data, make comparisons or show you where something is. The goal is to make information easier for you to digest and understand exactly how something affects you. Here's a sampling of Tribune graphics for some examples if you're curious!

I will be frank — at the moment, I'm in over my head. The last four days have been the biggest learning curve for me. I have never taken a formal design course or had a design internship, so I have a long way to go. The pace at which these people work is incredibly fast, but also accurately edited with stunning visuals. I have struggled to adjust during my first week, but after several conversations with Blake and Kristina, I've come to realize that I need to calm down. This was only my first week. I can't be perfect starting on day one. I have to allow myself time to observe their process, ask questions and soak up as much information as possible. It is all about learning. That's the point of an internship after all, right?

Friday, I met with my mentor for the summer. She's a graphics producer in the department and one of the nicest people I've ever met. She helped put my mind at ease when we started talking goals. Goals give me something to work toward and something to achieve. Goals make me happy. We talked about making big, medium and small goals. What skills do I want to learn? What types of topics do I want to cover? What's something I would like to see in my portfolio? What platforms do I want more experience using? Etc etc.

Despite the ups and downs this week, there is nowhere I would rather be than the Trib's newsroom. I feel so at home overhearing pissed off reporters who are waiting for open records requests to be fulfilled, everyone drinking too much coffee and working too many hours to feed the news beast.

But thank goodness it's the weekend. I need a couple days to decompress, drink wine and think. I need to regroup and re-energize myself for Monday. I don't think I'm nervous anymore — just excited for what's to come and ready to learn a ton. 

Thank you

Now I need to thank a lot of people. Huge thank yous to:

  • My mom. Thank you for being simply amazing but also for arranging my storage unit and rental truck in Lawrence. And for always having my back when I needed help or a word of advice. And for hanging out with me and always knowing how to make me laugh.
  • My dad and sister. Thank you both so much for helping me move out of my Lawrence apartment! Thank you for not hating me when I wasn't packed when you arrived. And thank you for bringing me back to Indiana. I could not have done it without you. 
  • My parental unit. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for helping me move into my apartment and helping me navigate the city. I had a fun weekend with you, even though it was pretty stressful. Huge thank you! 
  • Kim and Jessica. THANK YOU FOR THE CAKE! It made my few days at home extra sweet and special. I love you guys very much.
  • Blake's family. Thank you for being so kind and inviting me to dinner and making me feel at ease knowing I have people (!!!) in Chicago.
  • Kristina. Thank you for your patience when I'm freaking out, and thank you for cleaning up the messes (literally and figuratively) I leave behind. I don't know what we're going to do apart, but I suppose we'll figure it out. Here's to so many more adventures in the future! (Including ones in Chicago when you visit in July!!!)
  • Blake. Thank you for talking me out of insanity on a daily basis and for caring so much. It means the whole world. You are the best.

Until next time, Internet.

Ps — Walking down Michigan Avenue, knowing that I'm not a tourist and my destination is Tribune Tower is a feeling that will never get old.