One year down!

Over the past year, I have definitely developed my skills as a historian and a graduate student. When I came into the program, I had a bachelor’s degree in history, but it quickly became clear to me that I had no real training in the work of professional historian. I learned a lot in my historical methods class—from basics like what a historiography is to the important fact that it is not only okay, but even admirable to conclude different things from the same primary source as other scholars before you. Since I want to go into public history after this program, my coursework in that area was very helpful as well. While I may not agree with every new age technique for getting people “into” history and museums, I have learned a great deal about approaching the past in new and accessible ways for the public. As a first year graduate student, last semester taught me how to get the most out of a lot of reading material in a short amount of time.

This semester, starting to think about and work on my thesis has been very exciting. I found a topic that I’m really interested in, which is great since I will be spending so much time on it over the next year! I have always loved all kinds of history and could never pick one period or subject as my favorite, but as I have gotten deeper into my thesis work I have become less patient with assignments that do not further my historical goals. I surprise even myself with the amount of enthusiasm with which I come to a book on my subject after reading something not as applicable. Writing over the last two semesters has jump-started my academic writing skills again after over a year out of college writing nothing but public relations pamphlets, test questions, and cover letters. I have also been exposed to the digital world and can now successfully navigate blogs, Google Drive, and even technology like Dreamweaver, Omeka, and Neatline (on a very basic level). I feel like I can actually call myself a historian after the training I have received so far, and I look forward to diving head first into my thesis over the summer and next year and then hopefully finding a job where I can put my skills to good use. I am glad I took time off after college—I definitely needed the break. I think this program will give me the boost I need to launch a public history career, which is especially good given the fact that after a year in grad school I am confirmed in my desire to stop with my MA (although who knows, maybe I’ll change my mind in future!)

It’s been great becoming a real part of a department, as well. As a double major in undergrad, I never got to know more than a relatively small number of professors in both of my departments, and I never felt like I really functioned as a part of either, aside from coming to class, etc. Grad school does have its perks, especially the people I’ve been able to meet and work with over the last year. I can’t wait to keep growing as a historian and help smooth the path of the new crop of first years taking our place in the fall. In the meantime, I’m off to look at some monuments!

IMG_1466

 

Will my thesis prove to be “Glory Crowned?” Let’s hope!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *