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)”