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.
Just kidding, but I am serious about hating research. I am really happy with my career choice as a teacher and not a historian because I’ve gone crazy with just a few months of doing research, I could not imagine doing this for life. Citations are the bane of my existence and I of course saved them to the end, probably going to submit right at 11:59pm.
I got my graduation cap and gown today, which doesn’t feel real. I have had some serious imposter syndrome this semester as a first gen college student with 0 self confidence. It doesn’t feel like I belong here. It doesn’t feel like I’ve worked hard enough to get where I am, but I know that I have. I have worked full time, or even 2 (one time it was 3) jobs to get my way through college. And im going to complete my degree in 4 years, which is way more difficult than anyone tells you. Im also surprised since I transferred schools, changed majors, and studied abroad for 2 semesters. but here we are. thesis deadline day.
ive been listening to motivational music and eating junk food all day, but im starting to lose motivation, which is why I figured it was time to write a blog post. I think im gonna go cuddle my cats and dance it out (Any greys anatomy fans?) and try to write again.
These are my marbles. I have lost them. Let me know if you find them (or serotonin, cant seem to find that either)
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.
Since ANZAC is a primary theme of my paper, I figured it would be fitting to write a blog post for ANZAC day. It is celebrated every April 25 beginning at dawn, which coincides with the first ANZAC landing at Gallipoli. I first came across the term before I got to Australia in 2019 while I was looking up rules for mailing postage. One of the primary rules is that a package cannot have ANZAC written anywhere on its exterior unless it is the official ANZAC stamp. I had no idea what the term meant so I googled it and learned that it is an acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Before I studied in Australia, I never really knew of their involvement in WWI (or really anything else about the country besides kangaroos, Steve Irwin, and dangerous bugs). While I was there I took a course on Australian history and it is crazy how much there is to unpack there and how little is known of its rich history outside of the country.
Anyway, I happened to be there for ANZAC day and my friend basically implied that I was required to go. I thought it was crazy to get up at 3-4am to take the tram into town and I thought we would be the only people doing it. But the tram was running on a special every 5 minute schedule and there were massive crowds just to get on it. The train full of people was silent the whole way into Southport and when we got off, we joined even more massive crowds of people, still completely silent. After a few blocks of walking, we came to a stop in front of a statue of a digger soldier. I kept trying to quietly ask questions but got shushed, there aren’t supposed to be any words. It is supposed to be a quiet moment of reflection in the dark to think about how many soldiers were lost. Then just as the sun rises, there is a cacophony of gun shots, explosions, and screams. They were playing a recording on really high volume to imitate what it would have been like to land at Gallipoli. After that jarring opening, there are a few speeches by politicians, veterans, and family members. There are also performances by children’s scout groups. Finally, the national anthems of Australia and New Zealand are sung and a Haka dance is performed. Volunteers walk around and hand out cards with the poem below on them, everyone is expected to read the poem together to end the ceremony.
From there, there are a variety of events that take place. The RSL clubs host a gunfire breakfast, which is typically reserved for veterans and their families. In the afternoon, there are typically parades in the big cities and people barbeque at home while watching them on tv. Some families have more intimate traditions depending on if they knew someone that served in the war. My friend did not agree with the massive parade and felt like it degraded the gruesomeness of war. Her grandfather died in WWII and her great grand father in WWI. Instead of watching the parade, her family had a small gathering in which they remembered the men that died and took a shot of their favorite drink, whiskey.
ANZAC day has been criticized over the years but it is hard for critics to talk about the traditions without being accused of being against the soldiers. It will be interesting to see what happens to ANZAC day in the future. Once I am done my studies and my student debt is paid off, I plan on moving to Australia so keep an eye out for my future work on Australian history haha
I used to be a really good public speaker. I could give a presentation no problem. But for some reason, I cannot function at all over zoom. Normally while speaking, my trick is to stare at people’s foreheads so that it looks like Im looking at them without actually making eye contact. On zoom, not only are all of your faces right next to me, but I can also see my own face. Its really nerve racking. I also normally spend a lot of time practicing a presentation and memorizing my talking points. However, Ive been solely focused on finishing my paper so I have not put as much time into my presentation as I would have liked. I was literally editing it until the last second because I was so unhappy with it which I think messed me up the most. I had texted Joe that I was adding more content and he told me to stop, but I didn’t listen. Whoops.
I hope my public speaking skills come back soon because I am excited to say that I was offered a full time position as a support teacher at a charter school in Philadelphia. I love kids, but they can be brutal and I know they’ll make fun of me for being nervous haha.
Anyway, at least the presentation is over. Plus, I went for half priced drinks and appetizers at Applebees afterwards which was pretty good therapy. Now I have to keep writing for a week straight. Anyone have any motivation tips?
I ordered takeout the other day and was planning a multi hour writing marathon, but I got this super gross lasagna that was really just oil and sauce. It really put me in a bad mood so it was difficult to want to focus on writing. Tea and cookies have been my saving grace for most of this process.
I know most of you have written your last blog posts, but Im a bit behind (as always) so I guess I’ll just keep this blog going myself haha
As I type this post, The End by The Doors plays in my head. Dramatic? Maybe. Symbolic? absolutely.
I would like to start off by saying how damn proud I am of all of us for getting through this semester. Whether we went through difficult situations, challenging predicaments, or simple, everyday scenarios, we ultimately got through it together. The advice, help, and genuine connections I made with a bunch of people this semester truly helped me through the highs and lows, especially in this class. Researching and writing for the longest paper I have ever written was not easy. There were many days where motivation was low, and other days when life squeezed its way in between the stressors. COVID scares and crazy work schedules were also working against me this semester.
Although people say that life stopped when COVID hit, I would disagree! If anything, it accelerated life into a different form: anxiety. With someone who already suffers from anxiety, this semester’s school, work, family, friend, and life stressors piled up and even simple tasks were hard to focus on sometimes. Some days would fly by with productivity while others slugged along with writers block and distractions. With the weekly meet ups and emails searching for guidance and advice from Dr. Lowe, some of this anxiety could be relieved.
Throughout the first round of presentations, I was so impressed with everyone’s knowledge on their topics. Before I presented, I felt intimidated but excited to finally conclude one of the final steps in our Capstone process this semester. After presenting, I felt instant relief and pride for each and everyone who showed off their hard work and knowledge. I am just as excited to see the presentations this week! Cheers, everyone! We DID IT:)
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to” – Bilbo Baggins
I can’t believe our journey together is coming to an end. I know how difficult this year has been for everyone, you should all be proud of how hard you worked. I want to thank all of you for your help throughout the semester, all of your critiques and suggestions were so helpful . I thoroughly enjoyed this semester together and was so appreciative of everyone’s support. I also want to thank Dr. Lowe for her guidance throughout the semester. The way she structured the course made it manageable even though it was such an extensive research project. Furthermore, I found her feedback to be thorough and quite valuable in helping me develop my analysis. I was dreading this course at first, but Dr. Lowe and you all have made it an enjoyable adventure I will never forget!
On Wednesday I presented my Power Point. I was quite nervous and overwhelmed so I feel like I could have done a better job but I am satisfied with how it turned out. That was a very difficult day for me. I found out that morning from my cousin that my Uncle Alan had passed that night before, just a year after his wife, my Aunt Nancy had passed from Covid. My cousin and I were actually born on the same exact day, and I spent most summers at their house, so they were like my second parents. She was a high school history teacher and was always so passionate about learning and history. My Uncle Alan was also an educator, a professor of education with a passion for history as well. They instilled this passion in me, and I am forever grateful.
The Wednesday I presented also happened to be the one year anniversary of my best friends death. After years of battling mesothelioma my friend Mike passed away last April, leaving behind his 4 year old daughter Riley and wife Jessica. My fiancee and I have done our best to be there for them both during this difficult time. And often when I think about giving up I think of Mike and his courage and it gives me strength to carry on, so I also want to thank him for giving me strength on this journey.
This week I have received comments from Dr. Lowe and I will continue to edit my paper while including some further analysis of my sources . I can’t wait to hear all the presentations on Wednesday! Best of luck to everyone now and in the future! Keep in touch! And thank you all again for an unforgettable experience!
It really feels like this time would never come. About to graduate with my degree and fly into the world. I’ve been in school for the last nineteen years of my life, I’m not going to know what to do with myself.
All of the presentations this past week set the bar exceptionally high in regards to the quality of work on display, so I’ve spent much of this week planning out how I’m going to present this Wednesday. I am equal parts extremely excited and incredibly terrified to finally take the plunge. There’s a large part of me that doesn’t want to make the commitment of taking my project and saying “this is finished”, if I look hard enough there will always be more flaws I can root out.
In all, the past year has been indescribable. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little bit bitter about my last year and a half of college have been overwhelmed by Covid and everything else that’s happening. It’s been turbulent and full of unexpected hurdles, and I genuinely have no idea how I’m going to look back on it, nor process what it means. Despite having to leave campus and experience classes through a webcam, I’ve learned a lot about what I’m capable of and have enjoyed a lot of it; this class has been a highlight of that. Thank you to everyone who read my work and put up with my ramblings about the Dutch Republic.
I’d like to start this week congratulating everyone on their presentations last week. You all set up a hard act to follow on Wednesday.
It definitely feels weird getting ready to graduate. After over a year of Zoom classes I have not really taken the time to sit back and process that this is truly it. These capstones we spent that past 3 months producing are so that we may graduate. I don’t know about anyone else but all of this feels very bizarre to me.
This past week I’ve spent my time putting together my presentation and finally completing my paper. In the next few days all I have left is to polish everything and get ready for finals (This semester I have regretted adding an Econ minor, in addition to my history and Poli Sci capstone, I’ve had to learn international trade). I guess I must be at a pretty good point in the progress of my paper if I now spend my blog post talking about the work I have in other classes.
Regardless, this has been a good semester. Despite being online, this class in particular has felt very fruitful and I look forward to taking the research and writing skills I’ve honed these past few months with me going forward.