I have said this to a few people, but I will say it again — I feel like I have gone from freshman to senior in a matter of months! Not necessarily in how advanced my knowledge or practice is, but in learning the ropes of graduate school in general. This past year has gone by like a really long movie on fast forward. I’m not really done yet. I still have one more assignment and grading exams, but when I am done I think I will take a nap for about 2 days or so.
This first semester of graduate school has taught me about what I want to do and what I do not want to do. What I want to do is work in the public history field. After getting a glimpse of exhibit management last semester in Public History class and at the Montgomery Museum, I’m really looking forward to my internship(s) this summer. I like the fact that museum exhibits and digital history make history come alive and off the pages of books into reality. It’s nice to be able to see or touch what was once a part of ordinary life a hundred years ago. It’s also nice to take that object and combine it with other objects to create a story. Rather than tell history, you can display history. Being hands-on and interpreting a historical event or time period through objects has become very appealing to me. I used to see myself giving lectures and grading. Now, that is the last thing I want to do. I’m grateful for my experience as a teaching assistant because I did learn that is a career that is just not for me. What is important to me is to be happy with what I am doing because life is just too short to be miserable in any job.
Other than career choices, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about how history can be interpreted and just what is actual history. I have also learned how to do lots and lots of work in a short period of time! The classes I’ve taken, even if they were way out of my geographic comfort zone, did teach me a lot, but I’ve learned just as much from my classmates! One of the best things for me is being able to exchange our work and provide feedback. I like the different perspectives and opinions that make me think about a statement or a question in a different way. Probably in a way I would have never considered otherwise! I feel like I am still growing as a historian and there’s still much left for me to learn. But at least year one is down–only one more to go!