Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sometimes Panic Can Be a Good Thing

For the past week, I have worked night an day on my HIST 500 paper. For the past two nights, I have had barely any sleep, and when I have slept, I've dreamed about writing the paper. I have ate, slept, and lived this thing. Finally, in the wee hours of the morning today, I had a twenty-five page paper that I felt proud of. I did good research, had a strong argument, and had flawless formatting. Still, I worried. In my introduction on this one, I tried something rather creative, and I felt concerned that it might not be smooth and polished enough.

So, I took it to my mentor, Dr. Saxon, and had him look it over. I told him just to check the intro, but he got engrossed and read the first eleven pages. In grad school, this is a very good sign. He informed me that it was good work, and my whole world seemed to brighten. I had no idea how much brighter it was going to get . . .

You know that feeling when you work really really hard to finish a paper and then learn that it's actually not due for another three weeks? You know, because you had the wrong syllabus and were mistaken about the due date? No? Well, don't feel bad. Up until today, neither did I.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"