Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Tonight we had the unexpected "treat" of getting to watch a thesis defense during the first hour of our classtime. Consider me officially terrified about what is to come! I could not believe the depths of historiographical knowledge they expected the poor girl to have - in addition, of course, to the vast knowledge of her subject and every subject remotely close to her subject. For example, her topic was about a group of Puritans who became Quakers in the space of seventy years. One prof asked her a question about fifteenth century Spanish mysticism! I am so glad that that particular prof, whom I hold in the highest regard, will not be on my thesis committee! Of course, I'll have one prof who's even more thorough and difficult than him, so I guess I really have no room for celebration.

Oy. I knew thesis defense would be a scary matter, but I had no idea just how intense it would be. Having witnessed tonight, I am now thinking that I would like about ten years to prepare for my own defense! I'll say one thing: I have definitely decided to go with as obscure of a topic as I can - that way the profs won't be able to ask me as many questions! (I hope . . . though I have a strong feeling that they'll still find a way.)

I think I officially reached the epoch of geekdom tonight. I emailed a prof with my suggested topic for my research paper . . . for the summer class that doesn't even start for another month. Oh, and I have already started the research, because I know he'll approve the topic. Yup, no social life here!

Tomorrow is going to be a day of work (in other words, just like any other day). I got most of my weekly housecleaning done today, but I need to finish a bit tomorrow. Also, I will be working on additional research for my big research paper, doing a few revisions to the paper, and grading another student's paper (then meeting with her to explain my critique). Fortunately, this time I was lucky and got the paper of someone who is an excellent writer (so I've heard - and I believe it based on her classroom performance). I will also be attempting to finish yet another book that I need to review. Fun, fun! No, I actually wasn't being sarcastic.

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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"