Senior Seminar Freak Out Sesh *Breathe Britta, Breathe*

Tomorrow at this time I will be anxiously waiting to present my history senior seminar.

I will be anxiously sitting through three of my classmates’ presentations before I’m up to go.

I will be hoping, hoping, hoping that it all goes well (considering that my practice presentation was absolute shit).

I’m not going to lie, I’m getting nervous for this. Partly because I can’t just go first and get it over with. Since all five of my classmates and I present one after the other, someone has to go first, someone has to go last, and inevitably there has to be a few people in the middle. If it were up to me, I’d be up first because I tend to get more nervous when I have to sit around and wait. However, my professor decided to order presentations chronologically throughout history (as this is the history senior seminar, that makes perfect sense) and “A Man on the Fringes: Montgomery Blair and the Coming of the Civil War” fell right smack dab in the middle of that chronology.

I’m also nervous because I did mess up so badly during my practice presentation.  Granted, I wasn’t prepared and still didn’t even really know what Continue reading “Senior Seminar Freak Out Sesh *Breathe Britta, Breathe*”

The Over Eager Student Historian (a.k.a Me)

My senior seminar has been a struggle.

Why? Because being a historian is hard work. Historians ask questions about history so as to better understand the state of the world in previous eras and, by extension, the human condition. With an appropriate question underway, they search for appropriate primary sources to make a claim based off of that question. It is a time-consuming process. Historians might go through pages and pages of primary source material before finding that one small bit of information that will make everything worthwhile. That one small bit of information that is their “aha!” moment.

This semester, I’ve been waiting for that moment without avail. I came into my senior seminar determined to be a “true” historian. To find those sources and have that “aha!” moment to create a strong, unique, and original piece of scholarly work. The truth is, one semester isn’t enough time to work with a large amount of primary sources, especially when I have other homework and commitments to attend to. Also, to be quite honest with myself, although I’m continuing to learn and grow as a historian, I simply do not yet have the historical expertise to make the claim I’ve been trying to make.

Today, I e-mailed my senior sem professor with some questions and an update on my progress. I had my practice presentation on Tuesday, which was really rough. I was confident that I had everything planned out, but I got up to the front of the room to start my presentation and it all went downhill from there. I felt like a terrible failure afterwards and actually started crying in the middle of the dining hall. I realize now that my practice presentation went so poorly not because I am inadequate as a student of history (something I was beginning to believe was true), but because I’m still not confident in my argument. Why? I don’t have enough Continue reading “The Over Eager Student Historian (a.k.a Me)”

It’s that Time in the Semester When College Students Begin to Lose their Shit…

My brain is fried today.

I spent all of last night and a part of this morning working on my history senior seminar. I only have seven pages of my paper. I  know I should have more given that my rough draft is due on Tuesday. I keep telling myself that that’s seven pages I didn’t have a few days ago. My senior seminar still has a long way to go. Did I mention my rough draft is due Tuesday? I keep having to remind myself that a rough draft is just that…rough. There is going to be nothing beautiful about it and as long as I have all the basic ideas down on paper is some way, shape, or form, I’ll be alright. I’m shooting for twenty pages with this rough draft, but we’ll see what happens.

I have a lot of reading to do tonight, but I can’t focus right now on any homework. I’m going to head off to the gym soon to get a much needed work out in. Right now, sitting down to write a blog post is some much needed down time.

It’s getting to that point in the semester where life as I know it just stops happening and I become a bit of a mechanical robot. Class. Homework. Eat. Homework. Homework. Sleep. Repeat. Friends become a thing of the past. Talk of a solid eight hour’s rest at night would be a laughable matter if my current sleep schedule, or lack of one, wasn’t actually such a serious issue. But really, sleep is so important and I don’t get enough of it. Continue reading “It’s that Time in the Semester When College Students Begin to Lose their Shit…”

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