End of Semester Wrap-Up: Looking Backward … a Little

‘Write a reflection piece on this last term.’ That sounded like a reasonable task and one I would be able to knock out quickly – in the midst of trying to finish marking and prepare to fly home for the holidays (if anyone has any suggestions what I can get my nieces and nephew for Christmas, please *comment* below! My nephew wants Sonic Colors, but his sisters are making shopping impossible!) As I continue to click the backspace button, I realize this is anything but an easy task. The past four months have been by turns: exhausting, exasperating, exhilarating, and mind-expanding. To say that my new cohort of Fellows hit the ground running, not always sure in which direction we should run, is an understatement. Orientation was a whirlwind of seminars, sign-ups, and syllabus-writing and just when we thought we knew one another’s names we were thrown into the teaching pool.

Don’t misunderstand me – it’s been a remarkable term, full of accomplishment as well as confusion. A few of us were even able to sneak away and defend our dissertations in the middle of it all. There were D-Ped seminars to attend, articles and research proposals to draft, committees to form … social connections to make and networks to develop. I come from a graduate experience where I was, in effect, a cohort of one; it has therefore been remarkable to find myself in the midst of such an energetic, intelligent and enthusiastic instant peer group. I’m grateful for this experience, and even though I am SO looking forward to a holiday I feel excited for the next term and all that will come with it.

A year ago I was in Canada, waiting for my supervisor’s comments on chapter three, marking final exams, realizing that my trip to the MLA would most likely be fruitless. I felt nervous and panicky about the future, wondering where I would be in 2011. The twelve intervening months have been challenging on all levels, but I am grateful for all of the experiences that have made up the time.

Highlights of the term:

– The support I felt from everyone in the program when I submitted my dissertation
– Working with my first peer-based research group (a.k.a. “The Mappers”)
– Realizing that establishing a discourse on celebrity culture (and video games, and comic books) can be very fulfilling.
-When the temperature finally dropped below 80. Honestly.

Lessons learned:

– It’s impossible to accomplish everything in the short term.
– Life hacks are crucial. I don’t know what I would do without Things and Evernote.
– As much as I heart the digital, I still love my Waterman pens and my Moleskine notebooks.

Well, there is a stack of portfolios that aren’t marking themselves, so I’d better stop here. I look forward to more posting in the new year. Maybe by the end of spring term I’ll have all sorts of exciting new things to share. In the meantime, here’s wishing all you of you – Britts and readers alike – the happiest and safest of holidays, and best wishes for a productive and exciting 2011.

And remember: if you have ANY ideas what the heck I should get my nieces and nephew for Christmas, I am all ears!!!

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Diane Jakacki

About Diane Jakacki

Diane Jakacki received her PhD from the University of Waterloo, where she specialized in early modern printed drama, and participated in federally-funded digital humanities research projects. She has published two articles on applying social semiotic methods to early modern theatre history, an edition of Wit and Science, and co-authored an essay on developing digital image annotation tools. She is a software consultant to imageMAT and the Records of Early English Drama. At Georgia Tech she applies digital humanities methods to pedagogical solutions. Jakacki is currently developing researching the Elizabethan clown Richard Tarlton and his touring relationship with the Queen’s Men troupe.
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  1. Pingback: TECHStyle | Blog | End of Semester Wrap-Up: Fall 2010 Edition

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