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  • First Year Reflections

    Posted on May 7th, 2014 Rosemary Zlokas No comments

    Well, this year went quick!  Like several of you have already expressed, I feel like I have grown as a historian a lot this year.  Before coming in to this MA program, I really did not know much about how to understand and use frameworks and methodologies within writing.  Discussing this in Historical Methods and Dr. Mollin’s Gender course was a real wake up call!  And, while I am definitely still getting the hang of using frameworks and methodologies, I have really come to appreciate how useful (and necessary) these can be in writing about history.

    I have also improved my research skills.  Dr. Quigley’s class was great exposure to working with primary resources, something I had not done too much of before this year.  Learning how to interpret sources, especially ones I did not know much about, has been really difficult, but definitely a valuable skill to have.  Our Research Methods class with Dr. Jones also taught me a lot about how to research a topic.  From learning how to understand the types of primary and secondary sources we need to support vague ideas and turn them into real, focused goals has definitely improved my research abilities, as has learning how to write a funding proposal, how to locate where materials are, and how to plan out an archive visit.   Writing a thesis proposal was also extremely helpful in solidifying research plans and really focusing how I will approach my topic. The real test of my research skills will be this summer, but I think I’m ready for it!

    I feel that I have improved a lot as a public historian this year, as well.  My GA assignments with Dr. Cline have been incredible experiences and I feel like I have contributed real, valuable work to a project that has real potential to shake up the Public History world!  I hope to continue on with this experience next year!  Also, learning how to “think” as a public historian has been huge for me.  I have previously completed several museum internships, so I had a sense of the practical skills necessary for these environments, but I never knew how in depth the theories behind them were.  I think learning more about these will be a huge asset for working at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame this summer.  Lastly, learning how to think as a digital historian has been a major asset.  I have improved upon more technically advanced skills than I thought I ever could and I am so happy I stepped out of my comfort zone to do so.  I will also be able to use some of these skills this summer, as well as on a digital history component of my thesis next year.

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