Monday, May 14, 2012

One down.... Four + more to go!

I got up early this morning to do one final read-through, and then sent off my final paper for the semester, which means that as of today I am officially done with all aspects of my first semester of graduate school. I had anticipated it being challenging, but I was still pretty overwhelmed by trying to manage the time required to work 4o hours a week, be married, and actually attend classes, do reading, and write all the papers in pursuit of a masters in American history. In the last few weeks I successfully authored a 43 page paper on factors that contribute to success as an American President, and a second 30 page paper (the one I sent in this morning) about historiography in recent scholarship on Andrew Jackson and Pearl Harbor (yes I did actually connect those two topics together!).

It is fun to be in the classroom again and nice to have conversation and discussion with other lovers of American history. My class on the American presidency was particularly interesting and I enjoyed it as much as I had hoped to.

My professor for that class is one of the most widely respected authorities on the subject in the nation and has all sorts of fascinating personal connections to the presidency. To name a few….
                ~He delivered the eulogy at Betty Ford’s Funeral
                ~When we were discussing presidential speechmaking he had one of Bush ‘43’s
                   speechwriters, John McConnell, come in and talk to us about what it is like to write
                   speeches for and with a president
                ~He is frequently on C-span and other media and news outlets discussing aspects of the
                ~When Bush ’43 wanted to write his memoir (Decision Points) he called in several
                   historians to meet with him and talk to him about what a good memoir would look like.
                   My professor was one of those historians

On the last day of class I went up afterwards to thank him and tell him how much I had enjoyed the course. He responded by thanking me for being so invested in the class and told me that I was one of the “stalwart contributors.” That meant a lot coming from one of the most respected authorities on the subject!

Now I have to decide if I want to only take one class in the fall to make life easier, or if I can pull off two, which would allow me to take one on westward expansion and the American west and a second class on the American Revolution.  I don’t want to have to pick between those two!

Tonight, in honor of me finishing the semester and being married for four months, Alison and I are going to the Nationals/Padres baseball game. It is $1 night which means we can get hotdogs and peanuts for $1. Plus I can get in free with a pass they sent me for my birthday! Of course, it has been raining all day and is supposed to continue so that might not work out so well….

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