Back to (oh grad) School!

It’s Back to School week here in Texas.

I realize we’re actually behind a lot of states with this start date, but I think basically everyone is now back to school.

I’m starting my second year of my Master’s program, which is also my last year of my Master’s program, so it’s a steady (if hard and challenging) downhill climb from here.

So what am I doing this semester, you may be wondering?

I’m teaching Technical Writing online. And I’m taking the standard 9 hours of graduate coursework. I’m actually really excited for my semester because my coursework sounds absolutely awesome, though incredibly difficult and very, very reading-centric & assignment heavy. (In past semesters, I’ve had courses that were “required reading” light, with more attention focused on my own research and end-of-term paper/project OR I’ve had courses that were reading-focused with shorter & spread out assignments. This semester is both: lots of reading, lots of weekly assignments, and big end-of-term papers/projects.) Oh, and at some point I’m setting up a committee & beginning work on my portfolio. That, too.

While it is Monday and the first day back to classes at my university, I haven’t actually been to class yet myself. My first course is this evening, my second lecture is tomorrow afternoon, and my third lecture is Thursday afternoon. So I’m going to tell you a little about what I’m taking this semester without having actually been to any classes; so I don’t actually know for sure how these courses & lectures will fill out, and I can only speculate from the readings I’ve already done and the syllabi I’ve been emailed.

Image, Meaning, Text: Composing and Reading in Virtual Space: this is the course I have on MWF evenings, and it’s a quite the complicated course! It’s a stacked undergrad & grad level course, with the undergrads mostly coming from art history, and open to grad students in the English and Visualization (think Pixar) departments.  The professor is one I’ve worked with closely and extensively over the last semester (she lead my directed study), and she’s said us grad students will mostly be teaching the undergrads about digital artifacts, and how text interplays with visual elements to create meaning. I have no idea what my work will be for the course beyond this “teaching” element because we weren’t sent a syllabus before today, but I can’t wait to find out. (This is, by the way, exactly what I study in grad school.)

Gender & Literature: this is not so much a novel-focused lit course; instead, this course is focused on the preservation of Victorian literature written by women in both traditional archives and digital archives. We’ve had readings assigned, and the online course page has been set up, so I’ve been able to look over the entire semester for this lecture. My final paper must be something on a female writer of the Victorian era and something about her inclusion / exclusion in archives & anthologies created in the current digital age. Literature is actually very far beyond my comfort zone when it comes to studying English (what can I say, I like rhetoric and digital environments), but the digital focus of this course gives me a little bit of a bridge between what I know and what I don’t know here. I can’t tell you any Victorian female writers beyond the major players, and that seems to be exactly the problem.

Modern Rhetorical Theory: Rereading Civic and Religious Rhetorics: all you really need to know about this one is that our connective thread throughout the semester is Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. I love Lincoln. LOVE Lincoln. Also, rhetoric. Also, politics. Also, religion. This is a melting pot of all the delicious things a person can study under the heading “rhetoric” and I’m giddy with excitement.

If you’re a student still, what class(es) are you most excited for this new semester / school year? If you’re not still a student, take some time to reminisce with us: what were some of your most favorite classes? Leave your answers in the comments below.

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3 Comments

  1. Might I recommend a little known Lincoln biopic titled, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”? It’s the things we don’t know about history that will kill us… 😉

    Seriously though, slightly–a lot–jealous of your course load. The gender & literature just seems like a debate waiting to happen, which I love. 🙂

  2. I’m back to school but I have no exciting classes. Since all my previous coursework was as a Biology major, I’m basically starting at square one with business and communication basics. Meh. Baby steps.

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