I’m William Repetto, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “‘Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your new ‘cat, stepping in for the very talented Michelle Callaghan. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Library’s role in all of this.
“Then we saw him step in on the mat!
And we saw him!
The cat in the hat!”
– Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat
The morning alarm snatches all of us out of the deep recesses of blissful sleep. Our hours of rest interrupted by that dreaded sound. The next few minutes bring with them deep blinks and furrowed brows as the world slowly comes into focus along with the remembrance of various tasks that must be completed today.
Full school years begin this way as well. The rude academic calendar reminds us that, yes, the time has come to get back to work. Syllabus weeks begin with the coming into focus of the college friendships that may have been neglected over the summer in exchange for dreamlike reliving of high school’s camaraderie. Once we actually look at the college syllabus, though, we remember what needs to be done, what needs to be accomplished this year.
For freshmen, accomplishments may come in the form of joining new clubs and discovering new interests. The sophomores and juniors among us may be interested in building their résumés, while those lackadaisical seniors hide career woes and ambitions behind frivolous façades. No matter the character of the person or the loftiness of the goal, all of these goals deserve equal respect, and all of these goals come crashing back into consciousness this time of year.
The ‘Cat in the Stacks and all the other wonderful animals wandering around these bookshelves understand the importance of sharpening one’s focus this time of year. We know that waking up from the ‘cat-nap called summer vacation makes some of us want to curl back up on the perch and drift back off until the weather warms up again.
This year, however, features some big improvements here at the Falvey that require us to put our paws on the floor and get moving, not least of those the opening of a new reading room, featuring the recently restored “Triumph of David.” Some of my fellow library ‘cats brought this painting back to its former sharpness just last year. To do so, they meticulously analyzed each piece of the painting and brought the picture back into focus brushstroke by brushstroke, sometimes even removing old attempts at restoration.
The simple fact is that personal initiatives (whether they be one thing or two) can be taken apart and looked at in the same way as the “Triumph of David.” Personal triumph does not often come in the form of broad strokes, guessing at the hidden picture behind the experience. Accomplishments mostly come through attention to detail and a keen aesthetic eye.
Fortunately for us Wildcats, our campus library has all the journals, books and resources we need for finding and thinking through those small details. Soon enough, we’ll have a gorgeous space garnished with a reminder that even the smallest people (David) can summit their largest challenges.
Within this new space, you will find the essence of what a library can be: a place where you can wake up to new information, a building that can help you get a clear picture of the meaning underlying your college experience, a community of scholars dedicated to helping you work off the morning fog of fall semester.
These converging focal points bring me back to the Dr. Seuss poem from which this blog takes its name. Just when Sally and her friend thought they ran out of options for getting through their rainy day, a certain something came wildly into focus. As the line breaks of the poem suggest, our protagonists did not instantly realize the exciting opportunities their guest provided, but after letting him come into focus, the boredom and lethargy and tedium of a rainy day rinsed away and fun could be had. Take your first few hard blinks, Wildcats, and we’ll put the coffee on here at the Falvey.
Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant on the Communications and Marketing Team at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.