Saturday, June 17, 2006
Grad School 'Year One' is a wrap!
Yes folks, it's true. Yesterday--Friday--I turned in my final piece of spring term course work: an 18-page research plan with annotations for my 'Problems in Literature Research' class. Earlier in the week, I submitted a 15-page teaching pedagogy, a 26-page critical reading journal, and 17 pages of polished-draft-level creative non-fiction. This was on top of grading 22 student writing portfolios, which come in 3-ring binders and are each about 1” thick.
Things got a little panicky, especially since my family had been visiting and I set all of this work aside for 3 days so that I could hang out with all of them. But, it’s done. It’s done! I can't believe that I am half-way through my graduate programs. The year has been fun, and challenging, and really hard....but it has gone by unimaginably fast.
I now have one week’s break before summer term begins. I am taking classes this summer—the GA position offers me free summer tuition, and I can’t help but take advantage of that. It’s an easy schedule, though. PSU sets up it’s summer classes as five-week “crash courses,” where you go to class 3-4 hours/day, 5 days/week for five weeks. So, I’m taking a “Hawthorne and Melville” class for five weeks, with a terrific teacher who’s also my lit advisor and will sit on my graduate committee. I’m also taking a 4-credit self study with my non-fiction professor, which amounts to receiving credit for time spent working on my non-fiction thesis (a book-length work). And, I’m spending one weekend at “Haystack,” PSU's annual arts/teaching event at Cannon Beach, Oregon (above). I'll be taking a landscape/geology class that supports my thesis.
My classes start on June 26 and run through July 20. On top of taking classes, I’m also teaching a class: WR 115, which is an Intro to the Intro to College Writing class that I’ve taught for the last two terms. This class is also set up as a five-week kamikaze version, and it starts at 8 am! Now, picture, if you will, a room full of young college students at 8 am. Think hard…. Got it? I’m imagining vacant looks and lots of drool, but we’ll see how it goes. Getting to teach over the summer is a great opportunity—there are only a few slots available. Originally I was supposed to work all summer in the Writing Center, which would have been fun, too. But someone who was supposed to teach was unable to, and I was offered the job.
So, I’m going to be really, really busy until July 20, and then will have a quiet, open summer before fall term insanity begins.
Re: the picture at the top. I didn’t have time to write about it before, but on June 7, I was in Eugene as one of the group of winners of the Oregon Quarterly “Northwest Perspectives” Essay Contest. Yes, I was in Duck Land. We took part in an afternoon workshop and an evening reading. It was really fun. Anyway, the image above is of the magazine cover, and if you follow the link earlier in this paragraph, you can download a copy of the story that includes the complete magazine layout and photos. I took two of the photos, which is pretty cool.
I'm off this afternoon to a fellow GA's graduation party today, then hope to spend time excavating my home office, which looks as though a few reams of paper and a stack of books blew up inside it. Maybe I'll take 'before' and 'after' pictures!