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)”

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The Magic of the Word “When”

Here’s a rundown of a typical Fall 2014 Monday in the life of Britta:

9:00–get up (you might say, gee, that’s awfully late for a Monday. Well, I don’t have class until 10:30, and when you go to bed at 2 am on a regular basis, 9:00 is a perfectly reasonable time to get up). I usually catch up on some reading for school while eating breakfast to make the best use of my time.

10:30–head to Minnesota History (an unchallenging, though interesting 2000 level history class that ended up being a good idea to have in my schedule since I also have two very demanding upper level classes that are taking up a lot of my homework time).

11:35–get out of class and head back to my hall for a quick break before…

11:50–HD staff meeting where we discuss everything that we need to pass onto our CA’s at our hall staff meetings on Tuesday and other HDey stuff.

12:20-12:50 (or whenever the meeting ends)–head back to my room to check my Morris e-mail and make sure my staff has all their weekly reports in (these are a way for CA’s to let their supervisors know what’s going on in life and on their floor since we don’t see them every day). I send an e-mail response to every CA on my staff so they know I’ve read them and then I have lunch.

2:00–1:1 with one of my CA’s. I then work on homework and/or get distracted by the internet (I’m sure every college student out there can relate to this). In the event that I’m feeling really overwhelmed, I’ll take some time away from homework completely.

3:30–Head to Brit Lit 1 (Another 2000 level course that I need for my English major and didn’t have a chance to take until this semester. I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I am, but it’s super interesting!).

4:35–head back to my room and change for Dance Ensemble.

5:00–Dance Ensemble practice.

6:00–Dinner time, some precious free time to study/veg a little bit if I feel like I can’t focus.

8:30–Meet with Community Council Board (as the Hall Director, one of my responsibilities is to advise the hall government).

9:00–Community Council Meeting.

9:15-9:20 (or whenever the meeting ends)–Homework time, probably at the library, for the rest of the night.

Between 1:00 and 2:00 am (on a good night): SLEEP!

You might ask, why am I sharing this all? Why should you care about my Monday schedule? Well, you probably don’t, but I wanted to give a visual of how busy I am this semester (Monday’s are particularly busy, and it’s also a Monday today so all this is incredibly fresh in my mind). This semester is undoubtedly the busiest that I’ve Continue reading “The Magic of the Word “When””