Well, here is my last blog post for that audience of one or two who will probably read it. I figured that it would be a good idea to keep to the one blog post a week requirement until the very end and, as I am learning with my foreign languages, writing often even if it is not for an obvious purpose is not a bad thing. So, I have enjoyed being in this class this semester. It definitely is not among the classes that I have taken in the past that people will be able to tell me with a bit of legitimacy that the class was a waste of my time. Coming back to school and experiencing my first residential university history class in a few years has been interesting and fun, I think that it bodes well for the rest of my history education. I have already begun to use the teachings from History 299. In my Spanish class when we had to write mini proposals for the 7-10 page papers that we could write on any topic, I found writing the proposal to be unusually easy. I almost had to stop myself from smiling at the other Spanish majors. So, now that the semester comes to an end, and I begin to focus on finishing the semester on a high note, I suppose I can only hope that my future performance is as good as the good things that this class bodes in regard to my history education. Wow, I feel like a senior in high school again. I think I’ll stop before Y2K strikes again. Well, that was my last blog post. Good luck to all those reading and not reading it!
During this semester, I have learned to do historical research. The latest history best sellers are now secondary sources that should be read as a start to the learning process not an end. Research papers are now arguments using primary sources to illustrate a point. I am ok with doing research on a topic before actually doing it (although there is still a part of me that still can not make sense of that). My writing has also improved. The lessons on the placement of clauses and the efficient use of the active voice were especially helpful. The placing of content notes within a research paper was also an entirely new experience. I had read them before in books, but, after a while, I had began to think of them as unimportant academic minutiae. As a result of the class, I now am tremendously more efficient in doing historical research. The fact that I actually now have the skills to do historical research is a bit frightening. Now when I think of learning something new or doing research, the idea that goes into my head is the three papers outlined in class.
I do not really wish that I knew anything in particular at the beginning of the class. My preparation while not perfect was, nonetheless, adequate. And there is something to be said about the journey that is the taking of a class. For the most part, I am content with how everything occurred and the order in which it was learned. In the end, I am very satisfied with what I learned this semester.
Well, that was interesting. It should be interesting attending History 499 presentations on Friday. It will definitely prove to be an educational experience! I think it is strange that the symposium is presentations scheduled at different times throughout the day. When I originally heard about them, I thought the history symposium was an after hours ceremony of sorts where History 499 students presented the results of their research and were awarded prizes and scholarships for their work. In essence, I thought it was an end of the year history awards banquet on drugs. I must say this format is much more informative! Till next time!
So……this is awkward. While everyone else is done with their speeches it seems, I have finally gotten into the stage where all I have to do is practice, practice, practice. This would normally be a simple step, but deep down I still think I am good at public speaking and don’t need the practice. I am quite certain that it is smart thinking like that that has led me to go back to school. Well, great job to everyone else who has already gone! I promise to attempt to make my speech painless!
I have been revising my research paper and I have started to grapple with the feeling that I have often felt about revising. It has always been weird to revise a paper of any kind because after I finish writing, I usually feel some sort of feeling of accomplishment as if all is well and the process is over. Don’t get me wrong revising is important and very productive. Taking an already developed idea or writing and then developing it further is a great march toward perfection. But that grade school feeling of being finished and just needing to have someone check it and correct grammar and spelling errors is so strong! I suppose the embracing of the rewriting process is a sign of professional maturity. A sort of value that one takes on as one spends more time in the business. But the clash between habit and will is a strange feeling to have nonetheless.