…when I looked in the mirror and saw the dark circles under my eyes just now. I look like I haven’t slept in a week. Scary. It was the stress of getting that mammoth book read in five days, I think. Next week’s book is a bit shorter, and the paper topic is such that I’ll be able to skim it here and there, which will help a lot. The topic for the paper I handed in today made me feel like I needed to be conversant with the whole book, backwards and forwards. A task I totally failed to achieve, naturally, but…well, at least I tried. And at least he says he’s not planning on grading these weekly papers individually; we’ll be getting one grade for all of them put together. So as long as the overall quality is decent — and/or improves significantly — I think I should be okay.
I was surprised, too, in class today. Given the date, and since it’s a history course and all, I thought we’d end up in a huge discussion on the impact the 9/11 attack on American (and global) culture and politics and so forth, but it was actually barely even mentioned. I guess the assumption was that as graduate students, we could all figure that much out on our own, and didn’t need to discuss it. Or something. Either way, it wasn’t a discussion I wanted to take part in, so I’m not complaining.
The discussion really made me start thinking about what I want to do with my degree, though. Or rather, re-thinking it. Again. I had thought that I wanted to teach at either the high school or community college level, where I could help to introduce new students to history and make them see how interesting it is and all, but…after hearing about the state of some of our public school systems these days, suddenly I’m afraid that I couldn’t handle it.
I worry that I’ve developed much too much of the “cartoon ostrich sticking her head in the sand” mentality. When the going gets tough, I tend to run away. That’s a bad habit which I really should correct. Somehow.
My other thought for my career after I get my degree still holds, though, even if it turns out I can’t handle teaching at a low level. If I can find a program where I’d fit in, I want to get my PhD, too, but given how interdisciplinary I want to be — and how tightly focused my field of interest already is — I don’t know if I’ll be able to find a program that would work for me and where I could get in. Especially since I already own a house, so if the only school that would work isn’t in the area…either I’d have to have someone else house-sit for years on end, or I’d have to move. Either way, disaster. (Though if it was close enough, I might be able to commute on weekends or something. Don’t know what all there is out there…)
Whether or not I can go on to a PhD program, and whether or not I can teach, I also want to write. Not just my fiction (which, let’s face it, I couldn’t stop writing no matter what, because it’s just something I need to do) but also history for the general public. Because there’s a great lack of trained historians who write for public consumption. Most historians only write for other historians. What’s the point in that? Well, okay, technically, there’s a lot of point in it, because you couldn’t get to the really intense nitty-gritty stuff if you were trying to keep it simple enough for everyone to understand. But there’s a need for everyone else to learn, too! I’d love to be able to write some books that would help a lot of people to learn something.
Unfortunately, I have a feeling that ancient Greece probably has more books for public consumption out there than a lot of other periods. Or maybe that’s just because I only look at that part of the history section at the book store….
Anyway, I guess I’ll know more after I talk to the professor about it next week. The appointment is to talk about the final project for the class, but I’d like to get some input about my plans for my Master’s Thesis. ‘Cause I actually have a couple of different directions I’m thinking of going in, but they’re all a bit interdisciplinary, so I’m not sure if any of them are acceptable. (Probably the ones drawing on archaeology are more acceptable than the ones drawing on mythology, literature and art history, if I had to guess…)
Oh, one highlight from my paper, or rather one lowlight. I wrote the wrong word, so instead of writing “the ultimate progression of the historiographical profession” I wrote “the ultimate progression of the historiographical progression.” I’m glad I caught that before printing the paper, because that would have been really embarrassing.