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Studying for Success @ the Library

October 30, 2012

by John Hunziker

Chrispen Behnke studying in the stacksChrispen Behnke is a student at the University of Minnesota Rochester campus downtown and a frequent visitor to the library. The UMR campus offers 4-year undergraduate degrees in medical related fields. They also offer graduate degrees.
Chris came to UMR in a round-a-bout way. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point in 1996 with a degree in Finance. He worked as a financial consultant until 2009 when he was downsized. After giving some thought to his future he decided to go into occupational therapy, which is a distance from finance.

His research into this showed that he needed to take some additional coursework, 10 prerequisite classes to prepare for a degree in Occupational Therapy. Occupational therapy deals with personal and physical activities using your body from your waist to your neck. The idea is to make it possible for people to do purposeful activities, their daily actions, if they have injuries or some type of problem.

UMR offers a continuous 22-month accelerated program, which runs four months with  three week breaks. The way the classes work was quite different from what he had lived through in the 1990’s. The world had changed, texting, Facebook, Wi-Fi was the way students interacted and learned. He found that many students” lived by i-Phone.” Books alone were running between $500-$600 per semester while eBooks were 10% of paper to rent or purchase on line. He likes the books in his hand.

Because so much is done online he met with his professor only four days a month otherwise it was via Skype, Facebook and Moodle (a platform to interact online with professors). The next semester it was 8 days with a professor, then 10, then 12 times a month. The face time ramped up as the complexity of the work and the actual working with patients accelerated. Things became harder and more complex. His Rochester group started with 22 students and is presently at 17. He noted the group needed to gel, to work together, to survive.

Study Room

One of the study rooms that are available for use. Ask a librarian!

Due to the fact that the campus is a skyway walk from the library, he spends a fair amount of time here. He finds the staff friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. The library technology is tops. Wi-Fi speed is excellent, cell phone reception in the private study rooms is excellent and there are computers and printers available as needed.

The first floor Audio/Visual area has a large selection of material; he was required to view the video “Marvin’s Room” from eight different Occupational Therapy theory perspectives and it was available in VHS format. He uses the quiet study room near the second floor elevator along with the three private study rooms. He and his classmates use the group tables for both work and discussions.
He loves the hours available to use the library. The UMR library closes at 1:00pm on Saturdays and isn’t open on Sundays. So many times he walks over to the library after 1:00 and comes back for study sessions on Sundays. It is an easy walk through the skyways, he never gets wet on rainy days or cold in the winter. The parking opportunities connected to the library and near the library make access easy.

Finally, as a husband and father of two, he and his wife Kelly can bring the kids for story time, use the new children’s art room and other programing, to meet others and learn more about the community. He likes the quotes in the skyway to the library and finds the library clean, well laid out with great windows, greenery and fun art.

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