Well, I’ve almost got one whole semester under my belt as a graduate student in French literature. I have to say, it has been a very wild ride, with a lot of different emotions and experiences coming at me. Here’s some things that I like about grad school:
- The peer support. Seriously, the friend cohort that the other new students and I have created is amazing, and I probably wouldn’t still be doing this if it wasn’t so supportive.
- The class that I teach. Teaching French 101 has been a great experience. I had never before appreciated how hard it is to be a good teacher. I’ll come up with activities that work great (students today told me that I had gotten better at making warm-ups!) and some that just do not work at all.
- Literary theory. This is the big surprise of the semester. I started out being turned off to literary theory, thinking that it was mostly pointless rambling. I see now how certain modes of thinking can really help one’s appreciation of a text. I have the funnest time reading Roland Barthes.
I get to teach 101 again next semester, so I’ll be able to reformulate some of the things that didn’t work the first time around. I also get to continue working with Dr. Sally Magnan, who’s basically the name amongst names as far as the formation of foreign language instructors is concerned.
There are a few things that I don’t like as well. Most notably, I do not like how unclear graduate work can be. In undergrad, the nature of the work was usually very clear and well defined. “Read this. Write a paper.” Here, the goal of a class (especially one with barely any grades) is harder to grasp. Oftentimes readings are not discussed at all, and there is a huge amount of them, all of which I want to read, but for all of which I do not have time. Things have gotten better over the course of the semester, however, as I’ve stuck with things.
Logistically, I’ve found a good set of tools to work with to get the work done as well. The netbook that I got in September really does wonders for graduate work and teaching. I do have to get into the groove of putting everything on my calendar again though, a habit from undergrad that I somehow lost in the transition to grad school.
I should close here. Time to finish a big project that I’m working on. Synthesizing everything here gave me a nice break from work. J’y reviens!