As the esteemed assistant Professor Erica Yamamura mentioned earlier this week, the winter quarter is half over. This means the 2010-2011 school year is half over. For the first years, one quarter of our grad school education is completed. For second years, that’s 3/4 of your education. For continuing students, well, this could be your last quarter, or just another one in a long line.
Me, I’m not scared, I’m terrified. Life is going by so incredibly fast, and I thought I’d know more by now. But my professors seem to think I’ve been doing well, so that’s something. And maybe I have been learning, but it’s been different from undergrad, or any other kind of learning I’ve had. K-12 taught us facts and necessary skills, but college teaches us how to think — thoughtful analysis, exploring things you’re interested in, drawing connections between concepts in widely different fields (postage stamps as symbols of national pride in 19th century Britain, for example). Graduate school seems aimed at teaching us how to operate in a very specific field using everything else we know, but in some ways, it feels more like a survey education: little snippets of things we may want to spend our careers exploring. Admittedly, we are given the opportunity to dig deeper into a chosen subject matter (women’s role in education, community college access, white hegemony) but it’s different enough that I’m still trying to wrap my head around what we’re quite aiming at. Maybe I should take a page out of my Lead 1 class and read the mission statement.
Anyway, we’re at the halfway mark folks. If you can, use this weekend to celebrate the fact we’ve made it this far. Take a breather. Have a good weekend everybody.