Tuesday, December 21, 2010

This is the happy dance I've been doing since I found out I received an A- in Historiography. I wasn't surprised by the A's in kiddie lit or Ozarks history, but this one threw me for a loop. I was hoping for a B and when I saw the A- I just kept staring at it, wondering if I was seeing things. Though I have received a reprieve this semester, I probably should go ahead and get the book Nicki suggested, "Dare to Get a B". I figure it is bound to happen sometime so I might as well be prepared.

Overall, I am satisfied with the results of this semester. I found something worthwhile in all three classes, and though I'm still struggling with a new style of writing (new to me, anyway), I have hope that I can learn and improve my skills. My historiography professor said that failure is part of writing, and with each attempt we should try to "fail better" next time. His encouragement seems somewhat backwards, but it is helpful nonetheless. Learning something new can be difficult so I shouldn't expect to do it perfectly on my first try. Writing is hard work and involves a lot of editing and rewriting, even for professionals. I'm excited to keep learning more about the craft.

The most enjoyable aspect of the semester was the opportunity to take part in the meetings and activities of the PAT (Phi Alpha Theta, the history honor society). It was the first semester in which my schedule allowed me to attend the meetings and it was nice to finally meet some of the members and become better acquainted with those that I met at the Dead Day party last May. We had the opportunity to volunteer at a national park a couple of weeks ago and will hopefully be doing even more volunteer work next semester. Participating in this group has given me the feeling that I am at last part of college experience, something that has long eluded me.

It's hard to feel connected when my time at school is all about rushing from work to class, then back to work again. This semester I stopped going back to work after every class and thus my stress level has gone down and my overall disposition has improved. Next semester I will be working a few less hours which ultimately means I will be working myself out of a job since the time I am gone to school uses up my vacation time. Presumably, I will be booted out the door when I run out of vacation time. How I long for that day to arrive.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Knowable or Constructed

I'm currently suffering miserably while attempting to write an analytical paper. I used to think I knew how to write; now I know better. I have recently discovered that I only know how to write narrative papers, not analytical papers. Actually, I had no idea there were different kinds of papers or writing, and I am now paying the price for this woeful ignorance. I received a 79 on my primary source paper, with an extra 5 points added to everyone's grade because the professor knows he is an evil grader. So I came out of that fiasco with an 84, which I guess I should be grateful for, but as I always get A's on my papers I'm not feeling terribly thankful about it at all. It took me a couple of days to suck it up and look at all the notes he had written on the paper. I could not dispute any of his comments, but is was quite difficult to look at. Since receiving this grade I have been terrified to begin the analytical paper that is due on Tuesday. I have no confidence that I know how to write this paper. I have to write as if I am testifying before a court about whether or not history is knowable or constructed. No citations, no quotes, and no outside research. Well. Just my own reasoning based on the material covered this semester. It has to be done so I will do it, but I'm sure not looking forward to my grade in this class.

So, with two more weeks of school I have two papers to write and three tests to take, then I am home free! Looking forward to relaxing and enjoying Christmas.