For this degree at least. (Anyone want to give me buckets of money to go get my MLIS next? Just figured I’d ask.)
But at the moment, finals are stressing me out far less than they have in semesters past, and that’s always a good thing.
First, I am so glad that I took my research seminar this time last year. (It’s the closest thing to a thesis we do that isn’t a thesis. Yeah it’s weird that we aren’t required to do a thesis.) I’ve been watching one of my classmates go through 711 hell, and while I am genuinely sympathetic to her plight – I am also so damn glad that is in my rear view mirror. It was a frustrating, crazy, yet, great class – but I’d not like having that standing immediately in between me and done.
Second, I am even more thrilled now that my archives professor pulled strings to get us practicum slots in lieu of large final papers. It’s far easier to spread out 50+ hours of final project work by going up to DC and working at the Rinzler archives twice a week for a while than it is to jam it into the last three weeks of the semester. We still have to write up a narrative of what we did and do a presentation on it – but that is a hell of a lot easier when you’ve already done the research.
My digital history professor gave us this Tuesday off, but as he said, “It’s not because I want you to have a nice Thanksgiving, it’s because you will need it.” (Though I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he would like us to have a nice Thanksgiving, or at least a holiday where we come out with good stories about the crazed in-law who always sends emails about how the President is really an alien.) Me? I’ll certainly take the extra six hours that class cancellation affords me. I’m doing a topic modeling analysis of Eleanor Roosevelt’s daily columns, and do you know has many of her columns you can convert from a webpage to text in 6 hours? 2 years worth. (I’ve done the math. No, I am not going to attempt to analyze 27 years of them. Maybe if I had come up with the idea 2 months ago rather than last week. It may be a post-grad personal project.)
Most of the semester has been “read this, write that, play with this digital tool, read this, write that, attempt to collaboratively write with practicum partner, and oh yeah, write that, too.” Lots of (necessary) bouncing around. It’s nice to be at the point of no new readings – and a whole two weeks of them to boot – just go write your finals, and I can just tunnel-vision into these two last projects. I’ve had classes where we had new readings right up until the week before the final. It’s not helpful. Sure, we have to do a presentation in each class, but that is a week before the final is actually due. Archives shouldn’t be a problem – I’ve done all the research already by just being up in DC. Digital history professor has repeatedly reminded us that he doesn’t expect a presentation on a finished product since we still have another week to actually finish it.
I’m not sure I’ll ever say finals are fun, but it sure is nice to be able to just obsessively channel all my energy into two things for the next two weeks.
Though as I said at the beginning of the semester, if you see me trying to finish Game of Thrones or reading comic books in the next two weeks – I’m just trying to be kind to my brain so I can finish everything else.