This semester was full of ups and downs. I went through a few jobs, a lot of emotions, and so many papers. I made my fair share of poor decisions like putting off important work but overall I am incredibly proud of myself for making it through another semester. I am a senior and next semester I will be completing my student teaching. I actually found out this week that my placement will be at Bensalem High which is two blocks from my house, a miracle. Although a part of me is somewhat fed up with school, considering I am 5 years in and most of my friends graduated, I have been considering grad school a lot lately. I am so grateful I live a life where I am able to get a higher education.
I spent this week completing my final paper. The only part I needed to finish was my argument which happened to be the most important part of my paper. I had four claims spread throughout my argument section and I spent more time than I would like calculating how many pages needed to go into each claim. When I finally ended up writing the paper the ideas and sources were flowing so naturally that I really did not need to keep track of silly things like word counts and page numbers. Finding the ideas I needed out of the books I used was finding a needle in a haystack but fortunately I did not put off this part. So 90% of my ideas were backed up by facts and my synthesis of the facts made sense in my notes. All I had to do was put my ideas into the paper in a conventional and consistent manner. Oh the dread I had for this looming paper that knocked at my door every evening. Oh the shame I felt when I would put off the work or call an early night when I had the time to work on the paper. I was afraid of finishing it because I was afraid it would not be enough. I was afraid I would fail myself.
Now I am proud of the work I accomplish. While it certainly would be nice to pass the class (why else would I be up this late doing blogs), in my eyes I already succeeded. I buckled down and completed ALL of the work that needed to be done. Not just for this class but for all my classes. I am proud of the paper I submitted today, even if it was not reviewed as much as I would have like. Yeah maybe it is missing a few commas and maybe I used a bit of passive voice here in there. I am still satisfied with my ideas and how they come together. I am satisfied with what I was able to present to my peers and I will be satisfied getting whatever grade I deserve. Thanks for reading through these blogs professor and thank you classmates for enduring this semester together.
I have been leaning a bit into the humor in my last couple of blogs to keep myself motivated. I like to laugh about everything in life as much as possible. I just feel like everyone is so negative around me so I try and look at the bright side and find humor in things others can’t. In this case I am laughing at how I put myself in a time crunch situation.
Week 12 tasked us with having a full draft revised. I did not even have a completed draft at this point. Admittedly I did not have a completed draft until around 1pm today. So I spent this week completing assignments for other classes. I took an Imperialism class with professor Ricketts, there was a lot of research papers for her class but the prompts were very broad. I found myself quickly asking and answering questions about much of the world like India, Haiti and France. I took a Modern World History class with professor Spodek and there were daily discussion boards to try and keep up with. I took a War and Peace class with professor Fischer who seemed young enough to be a grad student but I cannot remember. That class was pretty easy but it was a freshman level course so keeping up with the assignments was light work, not to discredit professor Fischer because I did learn a lot in the class. Finally I took Effective Use of Technology with professor Shapiro and this was my third attempt at the course so if I failed or withdrew than I would literally have to drop out of the college of Education, so staying ahead of that work was a priority.
I spent week 12 prioritizing and reprioritizing my work load and cutting into the work I was behind as much as possible. Hopefully my prioritizations pay off.
Jeez 25 minutes is cutting it a bit close huh? Completing assignments like this makes me feel like Indian Jones sliding under the closing door. I think it was that movie.
Week 11 tasked us with completing our full draft which means it was time for me to get to work. I spent most of this week refining my introduction, conclusion, and historiographies. I could not conceptualize the idea of me meeting the word requirement for the assignment so I aimed to stretch these portions out as much as I could without filling it with BS. I am actually really satisfied with how my final paper turns out but determining the quality of my work has yet to come. I structured my paper in segments initially and I am not sure why because I usually don’t do that. By this I mean I included a lot of headings and subheadings. Jayne (bless her) gave me a last minute peer review and advised I remove that and lean more into a paper that flows. Ultimately it was my decision and getting rid of headings just seemed to be the move. So this blog goes out to all the headings and subheadings out there: thank you for telling me what comes next.
This week we were supposed to take the week off (somewhat) from the assignment and come back next week to complete the full draft. Maybe I spent a bit too much time off knowing I had time to finish my paper. Pic related.
I usually have this problem. Once I think about my assignment and outline it and rationalize a schedule to complete it I start to deem an assignment easy. “Easy” assignments can be put off because I know that I am capable of completing them. I just always seem to forget that there is a time limit on my assignments. And boy do I really like to crunch time as you can see. So for this week I think I spent time outside and with my family. We are really close and live in a bit of a cramped apartment so in a way we are always spending time with each other. I am grateful for that.
GOodness gracious my hands hurt. I played a lot of video games during early COVID-19 and actually had some serious carpal tunnels in my wrists to the point where I put them in wrist braces for a month. This has been the most stressed my wrists have been since then. Aren’t I too young to be suffering for my art?
This is actually my favorite part of the semester because it is finally that time to get all that procrastinated weight off my shoulders. It also generally feels good to be productive. Week 9 tasked us with completed our second mini draft which means it was my time to finish my first mini draft. I completed a pretty sturdy introduction which is honestly my favorite part of my paper. It ended up coming to two or three pages, the longest introduction I have ever written. This was because there just seemed like so much to introduce. First Ancient Egypt, then the religion, then the afterlife and mythology. Explaining things is so much easier than synthesizing your own ideas. Sometimes I wish I could go back to when books were rewritten by hand. That would be a dream job now.
By this point I felt like I was making a comeback on the scene of my project. Oh how wrong I was.
This was the week we needed to have our first draft done. This also happened to be the week I both decided to catch up and fell further behind. I think I had a few other big projects due that week that were a bit more pressing. Hindsight I should have just managed my time better. So for my mini draft 1 I submitted my historiography and my outline with an introduction paragraph. I personally believe that organizing both my historiography and my outline into one document was a really good thing. In fact, every draft from this point until my final submission was done on the same document. For some reason that makes me feel all sentimental.
Pic related, the clock is ticking. I doubt I will get all my blog submissions in by midnight. Hopefully Professor Lowe blesses me with mercy. So this one is for you Professor.
I am sure anyone reading this is just as busy as I am tonight. Good luck to everyone!
Week 7 required us to develop our thesis statement, a full outline and a couple of paragraphs. I did not have the paragraphs at this point but I certainly had my outline finished. It felt like jumping the first hurdle when I had that down. My outline probably played the most significant role in creating my entire research paper. Getting that down was a bit difficult because it felt like I was pulling outlandish claims from thin air. However, those claims were my foundation to my paper, to my research. Typically I write my papers in one attempt, from the beginning to the end. That model might work when developing 5-7 page research papers. When developing a 20+ page paper that model seems a bit too “winging it,” even for me. Maybe I could have created strong arguments but I would never have been able to stay consistent throughout the paper.
We also needed our thesis down for week 7. Off the top of my head I cannot even remember what my thesis was. As far away as the conclusion is from the introduction of my essay is as far away as I am from my thesis. After I hit the submission button I had to clear out my desk so to speak. I hope that isn’t a bad thing.
Week 6 was one of my favorite weeks of the semester. Preparing my historiography and building upon it over the following weeks was probably the easiest part of my entire paper. I enjoyed researching different Egyptologists and historians. My paper had little to do with biographies and yet I found myself digging into (perhaps a bit too much) about a variety of authors from this century and last.
I was still struggling with where I wanted to go with my thesis. I suppose I struggled with that throughout most of the semester. The material was interesting and I was acquiring a lot of information at once but I was not exactly sure how to synthesize it appropriately. How do I argue facts to someone else? I am not trying to convince someone of these facts, I am trying to find something hidden amongst them: a theme, a commonality, a pattern. With such a significant influx of information, pinpointing such a pattern is difficult. As such, I wish I looked into some research prior to formulating a thesis. However, there is a reason for the order of things. If I did not have a thesis prior to conducting my research then where would I even begin? At this point I was wondering where was the end.
In an attempt to salvage as many points as possible during the dreaded finals week, here goes my attempt to catch up on blogs and talk about how my semester went.
Week 5 was spent completing the baby-steps to historiography. This was a pretty fun assignment as it allowed me to explore author’s purpose and bias within historical books. I had the opportunity to see where they get authors with more renown gather their information and how they organization. I only needed a few of the books completed for the baby-steps activity and I finished the rest the following week. Most of my paper utilized books and I only ended up with a few articles to supplement them.
I had some issues originally with my sources as I relied heavily on the work of EA Wallis Budge published 100 years ago. As it turns out we cannot rely on the words of individuals from a century ago, especially as new breakthroughs in Egyptology were being released within the year. So I decided to utilized Budge’s work for it’s merits as a primary source. The book actually acts as an interpretation of primary sources written during the age of Ancient Egypt like the Book of the Dead. So rather than utilizing Budge’s commentary, I just used his interpretations.
At this point I have formed such a strong connection with my research that I may have departed from life quite a bit and made my own journey into the afterlife (metaphorically of course and dramatic I know).
As mentioned in the title, I am attempting to catch up in all of my courses that I carelessly let myself fall behind in this is my steady climb back to life. Of course, catching up is a bit of a specialty of mine since I tend to get to that point around this time every semester. While my research has come along swimmingly up until this point, I am still having small doubts on my thesis. As I structure my drafts further I may shift my thesis to better serve by paper and with that my paper can better serve my thesis. I suppose in order to catch up to the blogs I should talk about the different steps we made as a class starting with week 4.
For week 4 we had to come up with a storyboard which was an exciting opportunity to finally figure out where my paper was supposed to go. I looked into my detailed and unorganized notes and found some structure to the ideas I was formulating. Utilizing the model that Professor Lowe gave us, I found that shifting these ideas into a structured format was rewarding (because using excel is a reward in and of itself). I am not going to show a picture of my storyboard because its not very pretty, so enjoy this comic strip of Garfield who kept coming up whenever I googled storyboards:
Anywho, stay tuned as I go more in depth with my collection of sources I have gathered and provide further updates on my research progress over the next few days. I have a lot of catching up to do but that’s the exciting part.