April / Katie
Updated: May 5, 2020
Name: Katie F.
Lives in: Midway, Kentucky
Currently attending: University of Kentucky
Earning: Library Science Master’s Degree
Drinks her coffee: No sugar, a lot of cream.
Last read: Origin by Dan Brown.
Works at: Keeneland Race Track as an Administrative Assistant / Midway Branch Library as a Library Assistant
Responsible for: Assisting the Keeneland production manager, working with freelance employees; planning summer and teen library programming
SIB: Your job at Keeneland covers many different things. How do you gear up to be ready for anything?
KF: Listening and learning and asking questions, and not being afraid to take the initiative, and just going for it. Gearing up for the race meet is in itself a preparation of mental fitness. What I do a lot in my job is anticipate the needs of my boss, who's the production coordinator, and trying to fill in where she needs help the most. And I make sure I have plenty of coffee and [am wearing] comfortable shoes because I walk a lot of miles during the race meet.
SIB: You assist people in both of your jobs. How do you strike the balance between camaraderie and professionalism?
KF: I think boundaries are important in a professional relationship. There are some things you talk about, some things you don't. I'm really lucky to have close bonds with the people I work with in both places.
SIB: Say you’re hanging out with a group of varied people. How do you make sure that everyone's connecting?
KF: Everyone should feel included. Growing up, it would hurt my feelings when my friends wouldn't include me in something, and I never want anyone else to feel that way. I don't care if we're almost in our thirties. I go out of my way to be like, “Oh, Scarlett, you like this. Morgan, you like this. Why don't you guys talk about it?” I like engaging people. It just takes that one thing to spark their comfort level.
SIB: Most people make a differentiation between listening to respond and listening to understand. What do you think are the best ways to listen to understand others?
KF: Being mindful of what they're saying. Participating in active listening as well. Sometimes I restate what they've said to make sure that I'm understanding what they're saying.
SIB: How do you make sure you get alone time when you need it?
KF: I say no to things a lot. I think it comes from being an only child too, I'm completely fine with hanging out by myself. I like people, just sometimes I don't want to be around them.
SIB: What is your favorite way to enjoy a day off?
KF: Wake up without an alarm. A cup of coffee or two. And TV. I love Grace and Frankie. I have a weird obsession with The Bachelor. I always read the spoilers for The Bachelor.
SIB: Do you ever have anxiety in making a big decision?
KF: I go back and forth between tiny details, but never am I like, “Yes or no??” For all big decisions, once they're implanted [in] my brain, [I’m] pretty much going to stay with it. I get a lot of feedback from my mom. I talk to her about a lot of things. She's a wise lady.
SIB: What prompted your decision to continue your education?
KF: I felt sort of called to do it. I know there's not a lot of money in libraries, but that's not really what it's about. I wanted to use my powers for good. Making myself do homework is really hard. But it's going.
SIB: What do you think the role of books is in America?
KF: There's a big literacy issue. There's a big gap between kids who can read and have those opportunities and kids who don't. And then it just exacerbates itself as [they get] older. For families or communities, I think libraries are at the forefront of helpful organizations. Kids see themselves in characters and stories, and that helps them expand [their understanding of their world]. Like, “Oh, my family is like this family.”
SIB: Which character or an author that has changed your life?
SIB: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. It’s set in WWII. It's about these two girls. One flies planes, not in the Army - women at that time weren't allowed to fly planes. The other is a spy for the British government. They're friend soul mates and that's how I feel about one of my best friends. I saw a lot of us in those characters, in how solid their friendship was. It's still one of my favorite books.
SIB: Tell me about exercise!
KF: I try and get 10,000 steps a day. I like to do yoga. I just got a personal trainer for Christmas. I want Michelle Obama arms. I was really into hot yoga for a while; it just got really expensive.
SIB: What do you think it means to have it all together?
KF: I think that's changed a lot. Twenty years ago, people our age [were] on their second kid. I think twenties are the time of still figuring it out. I don't think anyone has it together.
SIB: What things have you figured out about yourself?
KF: Besides knowing what I want to be when I grow up? That's the big one. I feel like that's the only thing I have figured out and even that, it's like, how do I pay for it? Where do I see myself? Am I staying here? Am I leaving? I feel like everything else is all learning experience, especially relationships.
SIB: How do you cope with disappointment?
KF: Sometimes I cry. I wouldn't say I pick apart things, but I'm like, “Why did this not work?” But that can make you go crazy. I try not to let it eat me up, but that takes time.
KF: I didn't do the leaving, but I was forced to leave from [a recent] relationship. I realized soon after that I wasn't happy, but it was also a huge disappointment. It's been mentally healthy for me to be like, “This is a really unsatisfying story chapter. But I can't keep going back to reread it, because I did everything that I could do.” I'm a lot healthier for that last chapter too. I [know more] what I want.
SIB: When do you feel like you're enough?
KF: When I'm with my friends and I don't have to worry about impressing anyone. Being enough is also feeling content with yourself, and content with your life.
SIB: What areas of life are you confident in?
KF: I like that I know how to read people. I like my collaborative nature. I know how to delegate, but I also know how to be a team player.
SIB: What does balance mean to you?
KF: Understanding that, you don't have to be superhuman all the time. It's hard to find [balance] all the time - and it's okay if you don't have it.