Carolina VonKampen

Editor. Reader. Writer.

Author: carolinavonkampen (page 1 of 6)

8 Tips for Traveling to the Gleacher Center for Professional Development Certificate Classes

I didn’t know quite what to expect when I signed up for an in-person class through the University of Chicago editing certificate program. Would it be more similar to college classes or professional conferences I had attended? The Introduction to Acquisitions Editing class that I attended in Chicago was the perfect mixture of both: It was engaging 100 percent of the time; the class was small enough that I felt comfortable asking questions and talking; my classmates were mature professionals; the subject matter was something I was truly interested in; the instructor’s insights into the publishing industry were illuminating and practical.

But the actual classroom hours were just part of the overall experience of traveling to Chicago for a class. Along the way, I picked up some tips that I’ll put to use next time I attend an in-person class at the Gleacher Center. They may be of use to you, too, if you’re going to attend professional development certificate classes through the University of Chicago.

1. Don’t miss your train.

No comment…. If you think there’s a possibility you’ll miss your train or flight, don’t book the last one out of town so you have the option of hopping on the next one. That way you’ll make it to Chicago in time to check into your hotel or Airbnb and get to class the next morning. Again, this is *totally* hypothetical and not something that actually happened to me.

2. Bring food with you.

When I’m traveling alone, I don’t particularly want to leave my luggage alone in my seat. Somehow, I managed to avoid that situation by partially dehydrating myself for the first half of the trip and bringing food with me so I didn’t have to pay for (what I’m guessing is overpriced) train food. I was glad that I had thought to bring a sandwich, two Lunchables, a bag of Butterfinger bites, a bottle of kombucha, and two bottles of water with me for the six-plus hour train ride. It’s also not a bad idea to bring food to eat in Chicago, too, if you want to save money on a meal or two.

3. Show up early.

I underestimated how long I’d have to wait for coffee at a coffee shop that was between my Airbnb and the Gleacher Center, so I was the last to arrive at the class. I walked in two minutes early — and that was about thirteen minutes too late, especially for the first day. Next time, I’m going to plan more carefully and aim to be in the classroom 15 minutes before class starts.

4. Eat the free food in the classroom.

One very important reason to show up early for class is that the classrooms come with free food. Yes, free food! Obviously, I didn’t know this the first day of class, but on Saturday, I didn’t stop before class to get coffee or breakfast; I just ate in the classroom. The Gleacher Center provides pastries, bagels (and a toaster!), and fruit, as well as coffee, water, and orange juice, and I took full advantage of it.

5. Don’t dress up too much.

I had no idea what to expect in terms of dress code for the editing certificate classes, so I wore a dress and a blazer. As in, I bought a blazer specifically for the class because I didn’t already have one. No one else was so dressed up; even the instructor took off her blazer for most of the day. I was glad that I had thought to bring a sweater so I could tone it down and not be stuck in a blazer all day. Business casual is definitely acceptable in these classes (at least the editing ones), and that’s what I’m going to stick with in my next class.

6. Wear comfortable shoes.

Whether you’re going business casual or slightly more professional, wear shoes you can actually walk in. I got blisters on my feet after walking a little too far to lunch the first day (Portillo’s hot dogs were calling) and then didn’t want to walk to anything the rest of my time in Chicago. My feet have learned their lesson.

7. Plan where to eat before you get there.

Part of the reason I ruined my feet the first day of class was because I hadn’t planned where I was going to eat lunch the first day, so I panicked and walked to a restaurant I knew, even though it was 15 minutes away. This trip to Chicago is the third time in the past six months that I’ve gone to a city without determining where I should eat near the conference or class site, and after every trip, I’ve vowed to do better next time.

Ideally, before I leave for a class or conference, I should look up restaurants near the building I’ll be in and actually plan where to eat so I’m not standing outside for 15 minutes searching for restaurants that are within my price range. In the Introduction to Acquisitions Editing class, we got over an hour to go out and grab lunch, so there was plenty of time to sit down somewhere or grab a quick lunch and eat outside and walk around. (P.S. If you have any recommendations for lunch and dinner spots around River North, especially near the Gleacher Center, let me know in the comments!) I may also just grab food from Whole Foods next time, as there’s one a few minutes from the Gleacher Center and it’s probably cheaper than eating out for lunch.

8. Stay near the Gleacher Center.

If you can swing it, booking an Airbnb or hotel near the Gleacher Center is really helpful. As an introvert, being around people all day—especially in an interactive classroom setting—exhausts me, so being able to quickly retreat to my Airbnb when class ended was great. Staying within a 10-minute walk of the center meant that I was better rested for class each day and didn’t have to worry about the logistics of traveling to and from the class. However, I know that I can’t afford to stay so close to the Gleacher Center for future classes, but if you have the means and can find a cheap Airbnb or hotel nearby, it’s a time-saver.

gleacher center
My Airbnb was in the tallest building on the left—and I could see it from right outside The Gleacher Center.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to attend an in-person editing class at the Gleacher Center. The class itself was informative and worthwhile, and the chance to travel to a different city for a few days was invigorating. I’m excited to put these lessons to use when I return to Chicago for an Intermediate Manuscript Editing class later this fall.

If you’ve attended classes at the Gleacher Center, what tips would you add to my list? Let me know in the comments below. And if you’re traveling to the Gleacher Center for classes soon, I’d love to hear what class you’re taking!

What I’ve Been Reading in Summer 2018

Summer: It’s too hot to exercise outside, and it’s also too busy to curl up with piles of books indoors in the sweet, sweet central air conditioning of our new apartment. I’ll admit: I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump. Or maybe it’s more like a reading slowdown. And admittedly, I haven’t been writing blog posts or book reviews, either. So before you start asking, “What have you even been doing all summer?” (hint: so much work), here’s what I’ve been reading in summer 2018.

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Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr

I’ve owned Four Seasons in Rome since fall 2016 after a professor recommended it to me, but I was waiting for the right time to read it. Back in 2016, it was too soon after my semester abroad, and I didn’t want to overwrite memories of Rome and Italy with Doerr’s accounts of it. I feared that I would never get to go back to Rome, so I would wait until I was much older to read about the place I loved but couldn’t visit. But then life took its course, and I returned to Rome for eight days in winter 2018 on my honeymoon. Now, my memories of Rome are multilayered; it is sometimes hard to remember which trip memories belong to. So I figured that summer 2018 was as good a time as any to read a writer’s account of Rome, even though I knew the book make me miss it.

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Why I Enrolled in the University of Chicago’s Editing Certificate Program

If you asked me what my plans for professional development were three weeks ago, I would have told you that I planned on reading some books about editing, following along with #ACESchat on Twitters, reading up on specific publishing-related topics online, attending ACES: The Society for Editing and Sigma Tau Delta conferences, and viewing ACES webinars.

My plans changed with one night of internet browsing that ended up on the University of Chicago’s Editing Certificate program webpage. After a few days of leaving the application half filled out, I applied for the certificate program on a Wednesday, was accepted on Friday, and was bumped from waitlist to class roster that following Tuesday—for a class that started the day before. Short story short, I’m now enrolled in an editing certificate program! Continue reading

I’m Not a Failure If I Stop Writing

“You fail only if you stop writing.” —Ray Bradbury 

I’ve always known I was a good writer. Teachers complimented me on my writing and encouraged my creativity. A high school teacher once commented “Ever considered becoming a writer?” on one of my last essays senior year. My mom proofread my essays and papers throughout grade school and high school, pointing out every mistake; at the time, each red pen mark pricked me, but now I realize that I must have been a good writer even then, because the details she picked out were small.

With this praise came pressure: pressure to…write.

I knew that the one piece of writing advice that nearly all authors agree on is very simple: You must write every day.

You must write every day. It’s as simple as that: 15 minutes when you wake up, or a page, or whatever you can spew out in a preordained number of minutes. But you see, that’s a must. I must write every day to be a writer.

What if I don’t write every day? Does that make me not a writer?

Read the rest of my essay at Fiction Southeast.

My Reading Speed Confession

I’ve always been a quick reader, but recently, I’ve been thinking about how fast I really do read. You see, I post about books on my Instagram account, and recently, people have asked me how quickly I read or how I have time to read all the books I post about. Continue reading

What I Learned From My First Conference Experience at the Sigma Tau Delta Convention

Last week, I attended my first-ever professional conference, the Sigma Tau Delta convention, in Cincinnati. As the Sigma Tau chapter president at my university for two years, I was giddy at the prospect of attending the conference and interacting with fellow Sigma Tau Deltans. Even though I’m not in academics or pursuing a master’s degree, I wanted to experience a conference and be in an environment where books and writing were the focus all day and night.

I attended the convention with Hannah, my fellow English major and Sigma Tau officer friend from college, and we had a blast. Spending the days listening to fellow book lovers talk about themes in classic literature and exploring Cincinnati’s bookstores lived up to my expectations. But as with anything in life, I realized after further reflection that I have a lot to learn about the art of conference attending. Here are some areas I learned I need to improve on from my first conference experience: Continue reading

Flash Fiction Roundup: 12 Stories From 12 Lit Mags

In February, I made a concerted effort to read more lit mags. I didn’t quite reach my goal of reading a different one every day, but I did find 12 stories that resonated with me for one reason or another. Enjoy this flash fiction roundup from around the internet! Continue reading

Why I Use Inbox Zero

I hate those red notification flags on my iPhone apps. I hate them. They make me feel like I haven’t tidied up every single aspect of my life.

That’s not the main reason I do inbox zero to control my email, but it’s definitely a contributing factor.

What is inbox zero, anyway? For me, it means that the ideal state of my email inbox is zero emails in it, including read messages. Continue reading

Your Career Column: Here’s How You Find an Internship

So you think you want to be an intern? Great idea—an internship can help you earn college credit, gain real-world experience in your career field, make connections with people in your line of work, and figure out whether you really want to do this type of work once you get out of college.

But finding internships that are relevant to your career interests isn’t always easy, especially if you can’t afford to move outside your home state or the area you attend college. Luckily, I’ve got a few tips and tricks you can use to find an internship near you: Continue reading

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