The end of the first week…

The first week of this semester seemed to drag on forever.  My classes are spread further apart, but I really only have to be on campus Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  Four-day weekends sound nice in theory, but they are far from reality.  Those days will be spent reading, writing, and researching (the real three R’s!).   This weekend I have several things to read plus a five-page paper and that is a light load!

This semester is going to be much more involved than I had anticipated.  For HIST 696, we will write several papers, have a semester long project, as well as attend lectures by guest speakers and take field trips.  For HIST 593, we will spend the semester reading about the techniques of historic preservation while spending the semester working to get a local property on the National Register of Historic Places.  And there is HIST 673.  It is called Graduate Research and Writing Seminar.  The name makes me sick to my stomach.  This course consists of writing two twenty-page papers and submitting them to the other students for review.  Meaning, not only do we have to research and write two twenty-page papers, but we have to read everyone else’s as well.  (I will describe each course in a later blog entry)

And that brings me to the topic I have been trying to avoid….History Day.  Unlike Missouri, each region has to handle its own forms, money, and entry information.  JMU still uses a paper system and it is my job to get a more efficient online system in place.  Working with Dr. Dillard and the department secretary, I hope to have a new website in place by the end of this week!  I spent this morning designing a webpage for our secretary to implement.

Despite all the work required, I DO NOT regret graduate school nor my decision on coming to JMU.  It is going to be a long semester, but there are key strategies to making this semester doable.  Remember those twenty-page papers?  If I write those as two thesis chapters, then I am half way home before my second year of grad school begins!  And the experience I will gain from HIST 593 will look great on a resume!  HIST 696 is about Public History, my concentration, and will be a great learning experience.

Remember, as Ralph Ransom once said, “Before the reward there must be labor.”



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