The end of the term. . . finally.
The spring term is a notoriously breathless run from January through to April every year. The semester starts a bit early down here, and it is relatively unbroken by vacation days. The exception to this rule is, of course, spring break, but, this term, it did not really afford much of an opportunity to catch up or, ideally, get ahead.
Of course, it’s not quite over yet–I serve as a TA for a class, and the final exam will take place in about a week and a half. I also have a paper to write, but, now that the endless carousel of classes and extensive readings for classes is done, I don’t anticipate that working on it will be a balancing act challenging to achieve.
And, officially, that’s the end of my history course requirement for this PhD program.
Honestly, at the moment, that transition is a bit difficult to appreciate. However, the rest of the program from this point forward will look dramatically different from the first two years, and, as the program progresses, the experience of graduate-level classes will recede ever-farther into the background. From this point forward, classes will, essentially, be reduced to my TA requirements and likely the occasional language course I will need for research.
I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. Part of me is thrilled. The coures have been great, and I have enjoyed all of them. However, very few of them have focused on topics immediately relevant to my proposed area of study. I will admit–there have been times when I have asked myself: why am I working on this? What’s the point? There is no sufficient answer to that, but I can say that each course has forced me to do a considerable amount of writing, and that has been extremely helpful. However, it is impossible for me to get around the fact that, as oon as classes end, I will finally start working on the project, and the area of history, I really came here to study. On the other hand, pursuing a PhD is a rather lonely process, and classes undoubtedly break a monotonous pattern. No classes means more minimal human interaction going forward, and, although that is necessary to work on the larger dissertation project, it does feel like a particularly lonely road ahead.
At the moment, getting through another semester feels great, and, for now, I’ll focus on that.