Sunday, May 22, 2011

Post-Paper Thoughts.

Having nearly a week to step away from the final paper has not done too much for my nerves. Writing (and even more so, revising) this paper has been one of the most stressful experiences during my time at Bard. I cannot begin to image what senior project is going to be like - I cannot even think about my project topic right now because sometimes it feels like it has already taken over my entire life. Which it somewhat has.

Overall, I am happy with how my paper turned out. It is, of course, weak in some aspects. Working on finals for so long made revision even harder to deal with, and in the end I only did about half of what I wanted to do. However, I am really proud of the work I did on identifying the ideas behind historical exile/exile from history. I had not realized how unclear this idea was until Tabetha pointed out the flaws in my original wording (historical exile). I guess it became a term that I made up out of nowhere? People do that, right? And if I am going to continue on this track with my senior project, defining terms is going to be really important. It just sort of blows my mind that I came up with this terminology just to be able to write this specific paper for a very specific class, and it somehow worked. The magic of liberal arts! (Emphasis on the liberal.)

The other part of the paper that I spent a lot of time reworking was the conclusion. With help from Jane, I went in an entirely new direction and kind of attacked the Oxford History of Mexico. It was by far the most pleasant part for me to write after the definition of exile from history. The things that do not need citation really get me typing quickly and thinking even faster.

After working on these two sections for a long time, I gave up. I spent about a day thinking I was done, that I could not do any more. And then Tabetha informed the class that she was extending the deadline – to today, actually. I knew I was leaving, but something about that e-mail gave me the push to put another couple hours into the work. I ended up working from an entirely new source. Of course it turned out to be one of those situations where I wondered why I had not used it from the beginning. But it worked out! And that is what is important!

Overall, I have had an interesting semester trying to get through this paper and on to the next step. I have about a third of a bibliography for my senior project and a lot more direction than I did at the beginning of this semester. And of course, I learned how to research a lot better! I could not have done half of this work without Jane teaching me all about research. I actually ended up also helping a few of my friends out.
So yes, a couple more posts to go. I am going to switch gears for a bit and talk about another form of research in my next post! Until then.


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