Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Zombie among Us

What a week! Last week is nought but a hazy vision of a memory to me, as I spent most of the week thoroughly doped up on pain medication. My neck had decided to act up again, so I had constant neck pain mixed with occasional spasms in my neck, which in turn caused a few migraines. Despite the heavy dosage of prescription pain meds, I still got my papers written on time and made it to my classes, though I was unable to make any substantial contributions to the discussions - instead I sat there staring blindly into space, attempting to pay attention. One professor told me to just go home, but I reminded him that my GPA is far more important to me than my health or physical comfort. For the record, that GPA happens to be the highest of my entire life, despite this being the most intense, difficult coursework that I have ever undertaken. Yes folks, Stephanie is carrying a glistening, beaming 4.0!!

Amidst all the "fun" of the past several days, I had the additional issue of internet troubles, which is akin to a death sentence for a grad student. With no way to communicate with my revision partner for the week, I had no way of knowing his suggestions for my article until class rolled around. Fortunately, the only issue he found was a footnote that had somehow wandered into the middle of a sentence rather than at the end, where it belonged. During a perusal of my paper, I happened across that same disobedient little footnote and put it in its proper place, so despite the potential hindrance, everything turned out all right. The article is now with my final revision partner and will be on its way back to me tomorrow, at which time I will likely make one or two minute alterations, and then this opus of my semester's research will be completely finished and ready to be handed in on Monday of next week. I already earned the highest grade in the class for my rough draft (this came as a very pleasant shock to me), so I am confidently expecting a high A on the final draft.

One class is now finished, aside from one remaining book review and a horrendous final paper that the prof has not yet assigned. I live my days in terror! Of course, my classmates and I cherish a fragile dream that the prof will become overwhelmed by his workload (the semester is almost over and final grades are due in just over a week, plus he really does have a lot on his plate) and will mercifully choose not to assign this monstrosity after all. I doubt this dream will come true.

I cannot believe that my first semester back in grad school is almost over. I feel like I have learned a massive amount in this short space of time, which is a complete reversal from my experience during my semester at UNCW. That program was undergrad level compared to this one! Liberty is not perfect (no university is), but it does have a fantastic history grad program (even if we do sometimes feel like the illegitimate child of the grad school - a situation which seems to be the case at most schools). I'm really looking forward to my two summer intensives, even if I am a bit nuts for taking two at once. And next semester, though full of hard work, is also looking like it promises to be terrific. The only sad part is that my two favorite professors are not teaching any grad classes next semester. I've heard great things about one of the profs I'll be taking, though, and I already know that the other two are excellent instructors, so I'm sure that even without my favorite profs, I'll still have a great time.

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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"