Today marks the middle of our fifth and final week of the seminar portion of the semester. To say the least, these past weeks have been challenging, but extremely rewarding! I have become immensely passionate about the possibility of using technology to bring the humanities to the public in exciting and innovative ways. I am gaining a clearer vision about my research topic as each day passes, and it is thrilling to see how my classmates are developing their own research projects, too. I also began my job in the Scholl Center for American History and Culture, which is a great opportunity to not only work, but learn.
Outside of the seminar, I have been exploring Chicago as much as possible. I have had dinner at Millennium Park with my roommate, visited the Art Institute (and marveled at the Magritte exhibit), ridden the Ferris Wheel and explored Navy Pier, traveled to Andersonville to visit an incredible feminist bookstore, and shopped along Michigan Avenue. I buy my veggies on Saturday mornings at the Farmer’s Market and am working on getting stronger at my gym in Old Town. My only fear is that upon returning to Southern Illinois I will be so bored that I won’t know what to do with myself.
As this final week of the seminar comes to a close, I am in shock that today marks an official month passing here in Chicago. This past month has been a whirlwind, and it seems that as soon as I got a good grasp on the rhythm of the seminar, a new challenge (the research portion of the semester) has come to present itself. The good news is that I can feel myself growing as a scholar; each day, I start to take my research more seriously and can sense the value of my own work in the humanities. I am going into the research portion of this semester with motivation and enthusiasm.
Overall, I am trying to keep a good balance between seminar and research work, cultural experiences, and taking time to recharge. Although the official reason I came to Chicago is to study at the Newberry, I am increasingly seeing the value of expanding my education outside of the library. This weekend, for example, I am planning to see a dance interpretation of the Book of Job, which I could not be more stoked about. My eyes have been opened to so many new perspectives, ideas, and worlds, both inside and outside of the library. I have started to make a bucket list of all the things I want to accomplish here in the next two months; the goals on this list are as varied as visiting one new neighborhood every weekend to going to the top of the Sears Tower, from being able to lift more at the gym to producing a research project that will truly showcase who I am as a scholar.
In the near future, I have much to look forward to. The weekend is rapidly approaching (yay!), and next week I get to informally present my project ideas to the Newberry librarians (an opportunity which will provide much critical feedback). Next weekend, my friend Bomi will be coming to visit, which I could not be happier about–I need to reconnect with a fellow Bearcat!
I’m going to leave for now (work to do), but I will post pictures below that highlight some of the experiences I’ve had the past few weeks. The pictures may include my time at the Art Institute (paintings featured are by Dali and Picasso), a view from the lake near my apartment, me geeking out with a first edition copy of The Great Gatsby, and photos of my friends and I during one of our family dinners. In closing, I will try to be better about updating this thing!
P.S. If anybody is curious about what I’m doing with my research, just know for now that it involves Faulkner and Cowley. Here is a link to one of the best resources I’ve found so far (listening to clips here has been consuming my time for the past day): http://faulkner.lib.virginia.edu/