Today, August 23, 2011, I returned to school. School officially started yesterday at 4 p.m., but I did not have any evening classes and did not have to worry about it. This semester promises to be quite busy, even though I only have to be on campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays. While this may seem easy to most people, its not the amount of time in class that is a bear, its the amount of time spent outside of class working on class that is the problem. Tuesday promises to be a bear of a day, with classes and office hours from 9:30 am to 7 pm straight.
I am currently taking a class on the British Empire. I'm pretty excited about this class, because I like studying Britain. It may have to do with my WASP ethnicity. With the exception of some American Indian ancestry, I'm pretty much white, Anglo-Saxon, and Protestant. This class should also coordinate quite well with reading seminars that I took in Tudor and Stuart England during my MA at Marshall University. There is a historiographical paper that should also help with my reading for one of my comprehensive fields.
I'm also taking an independent readings course on World History, which I must admit is a weak spot in my historical knowledge. This is going to be another field on my comps, so I'm hoping to become conversant on the literature of this field, as well. In both of these classes, I'm hoping to read up a bit on the role of religion in history, since the history of Christianity is one of my major interests.
My final course is a course on assessment in higher education. The DA program at UND requires students to take some courses in higher ed, and this one is on the list. I must confess that I felt a bit lost with some of the jargon in the first class, but I'm sure that I'll catch on through the readings and discussions this semester.
I'm looking at all sorts of reading and writing, both of which I find enjoyable (although the topic can help determine the level of enjoyability). I'm hoping that the reading I'm able to accomplish will prepare me for my comps that I plan to take in four fields in the spring.
My final duty this semester is as a TA in a section of a course on the US to 1877. I'm looking forward to this assignment, because it's a class that I'll be teaching in the spring semester. I've taught US history to high school students, but I've not actually taught it at the college level yet, and I've not had it as a lecture class since the Fall of 1993 as a college freshman (I'm dating myself a bit there). This class is being taught by an award-winning teacher, who's actually won the award for teaching. This particular job should help immensely toward my class next semester.
Ah, the life of a grad student. The work is never done. Of course, it won't be done when I finish my degree, either. I'm just hoping it slows down a bit after a few years.