Old Seminar Posts

Sarah pointed out that she needed a login to view my posts over on the English Companion Ning, where I’ve been blogging about the seminar’s more academic experiences. Funny that the privacy over there seems to have been ratcheted down, because my students could access it a couple of months ago. No matter.

I bring you the first post…first published July 1.

First of all, I have to credit the Ning when I consider where I am right at this moment. It was here that I read about NEH Summer Seminars and it is here that I feel surrounded by teachers who inspire me to reach far beyond what I think I’m capable of.

The first week of anything is stressful. Acclimating to new people, new surroundings, and a new (read: uncomfortable) bed is hard enough. Toss in reading a couple Supreme Court Cases, intense cultural theory and philosophy, and I really do marvel that I am still standing.

The seminar format is invigorating. Engaging in the reading and discussion knowing I will not be graded is exhilarating. I’ve always loved being a student, and when I find myself missing my family and friends, I go back to the fact that I enjoy being a scholar.

That’s not to say that I don’t feel grossly inadequate. My grad school insecurities are back with a vengeance, where I mentally berate myself at times for not seeing a text as deeply as a classmate. But I press on.

Tonight, four of us shared a meal at a local restaurant. The restaurant’s paintings were for sale, presumably painted by a local artist. I’ve always been able to love the most expensive thing in a room, and these paintings were no exception. For a cool $425, I could have taken home a gorgeous painting of a woman almost flying, being supported by two people on the ground. In the right hand corner was the phrase: “We never know how good we are until we are called to rise.”

I’m being called to rise these next four weeks, as the material will only get more challenging. I’m hoping I’ll be able to recognize how good I am, how good I can be.

Posted in NEH

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