Reflection on the Past Year

On Amanda’s blog, she made the comparison that this first year of graduate school felt like the four-year transition from a college freshman to a senior. I think that is apt simile.

At the beginning of this year I had no idea what graduate school, or even the history discipline for that matter, was all about.  I thought classes would be more of the same as undergrad, with lectures, group projects, and tests. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This year has, without a doubt, been one of the most transformative academic experiences of my life, and I am not just saying that. I can tell my writing has gotten much better throughout the year. It is easier for me to write long papers, but I also think my writing has become more clear and concise. My reading have also increased. I can tease out the main argument of a work quickly and follow the argument throughout. Finally, I think my critical thinking skill have greatly improved after all of the reading critiques and essays we have written throughout the semester. I recently reread some notes I had made in a book last year, and I couldn’t believe some of the dumb things I had written in the margins that really had nothing to do with the book.

This year has been a tremendous struggle,as well. Sometimes I did not know how in the world I could complete all my assignments and GTA duties in the time allotted for them.  But through it all, I have developed a true love for history and learning that had not fully developed as an undergrad. I am excited for what next year holds for me in researching and writing my thesis, serving as HGSA president, and applying to Ph.D. programs .

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