Friday, May 23, 2014

Graduate School: The Gift of the Summer

I haven't written anything non-academic in over a year. After I graduated from Mississippi State, I started working on packing and a summer reading list for a Victorian novel class. Once I began my first semester in the English program, I spent the majority of my time reading every book I could find on Daniel Deronda and George Eliot because I became increasingly aware of how little I knew about Victorian literature, major writers and thinkers in the period, and the critical debates in academia. I felt increasingly behind. And then I realized everyone, more or less, hasn't read all of Kant, Foucault, or Dickens either.

I took up pottery as an outlet to help distance myself from journalism, which I cannot do full-time while in graduate school, and to give myself a break from the constant reading and writing. And, after nine months of practice, my pots look like mugs and bowl instead of lumps of hollowed out clay.

But now the summer has begun, and aside from a French for Reading course, I have no obligations. I can read whatever I want and work on whatever I decide. I have no looming academic or professional deadlines in the near future.

I have decided I will not waste my summer. I have goals — to read Victorian novels I have criminally ignored, to explore critical theory that will shape my thinking, to write and explore ideas for conference papers and publications, and to find a project for myself that will put this blog to good use.

Over the years, I've used this blog for many things whether it be media analysis, entertainment reviews, chronicles of conferences and experiences as a student newspaper editor, travel narratives, and on occasion what appears to be a glorified diary entry.

But now I want to focus and mainly look at a larger scope.

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