This past week feels like it flew by. Our class attended a digital humanities conference on Thursday and Friday, which was sometimes confusing, sometimes educational, and always interesting. The reason the conference was confusing is that many people there represented the field of computer science, so while the stuff they were presenting on was certainly fascinating, much of the computer science terminology was over my head. On the other hand, these presenters offered a great chance to see the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of the digital humanities. The possibilities seem endless for what computer science and the humanities can accomplish together! Even better was the fact that Professors Draxler and Schell allowed some classmates and I to present about our projects during their session. The response was awesome–the professionals in the audience were receptive to and supportive of my research project. Getting general feedback and support about my project was really motivating for me (and I definitely need some motivation right now…the midway point in the semester is always the worst).
Later on in the weekend, I got to see my friend Mary from the University of Iowa. Getting her feedback on my project was helpful, as she is my long-time trusted editor and friend. Additionally, we ate some traditional Chicago style pizza together and went to check out the Chicago Public Library.
Today seemed long, and this week seems daunting. Sometime before next Monday I need to produce the equivalent of 20-30 pages for my research project. Though I am making strides, I seem to be getting bogged down by the minor formatting and technical issues and focusing less on the bigger content picture than I would like. Hopefully this week I find time to make true progress in terms of content. Finding time to make this progress might be difficult though, since I have writing groups and work to focus on, as well. Additionally, I am going back to STL late Thursday evening, so that on Friday I can touch base with my McKendree advisers and find some inspiration at home. On Saturday, I will be driving to Springfield with my parents to accept the Lincoln Laureate award, and then it is back to Chicago Sunday morning.
I couldn’t be happier to come home and see my family, friends, McK community, and dog (she is actually the most important creature on this list), but I am also worried about finding the time to get my research done this week. I will work diligently and do my best, and hopefully I will be able to get a little bit of work done on the train.
To all future Newberry Seminar students: this program is worthwhile, educational, and will force you to be self-reflective in a way you never thought possible. But please be advised to have as much fun as you can during the seminar portion of the semester (which I certainly did), and be prepared to buckle down during the research portion of the semester and give it your all. Plus, the weather is better at the beginning of the semester. Cultural exploration is critical, but do it first.
All, wish me luck this week, and in the coming month! Regardless of the immense amount of stress I feel, I feel even more confident I will have ultimately produced the most important piece of research that I have worked on to date. To all fellow Bearcats: good luck with midterms, and try to find a piece of yourself in everything you create and study–doing work becomes a lot more fun that way.
I hope to update this soon, but we will see how the week plays out! 🙂
Here are photos from the DH conference!