Even though technically I’m in college, studying to be a history teacher and interning at such a well-respected organization as the Pritzker Military Library, it still doesn’t feel like it.  With my birthday and Christmas rolling up (yes it’s still that preemptive in my head), all I can think of is if I can finally find some “Mobile Suit: Gundam Wing” action figures.

As such, my third session interning at the P.M.L. was an eye-opener of sorts that set me down the right path of reaching “adulthood.”  Now that I had a general idea of how my time would be spent, I tried to start right away on the Discovery Pages project with the Merchant Marines.  However, I also connected with Christy Stanford, the Volunteer Coordinator at Pritzker.  She informed me that many people in the library used an online service called “Linkedin,” a sort of social networking for employment and careers.  People can create profiles, list their education, past jobs, and more importantly their skills and services, and have others endorse those skills and write recommendations.  Ms. Stanford told me this was an incredibly useful service, and that I should work to network with all my professors, and at least five fellow classmates, because those connections and endorsements are invaluable in the hiring process.

I always knew the phrase “it’s now always about what you know, it’s about who you know” was more true than false.  Yet I had no idea such a service existed to streamline the process.  Even though I was told to link up with other members of the P.M.L. first, the first person that accepted a request was my history professor from Loyola, Prof. Karamanski.  From then on I knew signing up for this would not only help in the future, but it reminded me that these are things I should be worrying about.  

In my search for more information on the Merchant Marines, I ran into arguably my first research roadblock.  Since the internet is such a valuable tool, the Pritzker Military Library Discovery Pages want to list 6-10 websites (from .org, .gov, .edu type sources, preferably) where patrons can find more info on a subject.  As I came to realize, with a topic as seemingly specific as the Merchant Marines of WWII, there aren’t many websites in the seemingly infinite number of internet sources that deal with that topic.  It took a lot of searching, but I was able to uncover a lot of valuable sources, including a few oral historical recounts of people’s time in the Merchant Marines.  The whole process brought me back to the info on their veterans’ status post-WWII, and how it was systematically denied to many Merchant Mariners.  Even now in an age of endless sources of information, some still eludes us because of past actions.  Not every insignificant detail should be preserved to the ends of the Earth, because not many people care about a candy bar wrapper eaten by Jimmy Carter.  But such important pieces of history deserve to be preserved, and for that reason I enjoy my time with the Pritzker Military Library even more.  They work tirelessly to preserve history that has a direct effect on us.Image