Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First Essay: Done!!

Can you believe it?? I sort of can't. 12 hours ago I still had 5 books to get through and not the faintest idea of how to answer my rather open-ended question ("Who Were the Sumerians?"). I've spent all but 2 of those 12 hours either reading, outlining, or writing, and even though I don't really want to leave it this much to the last minute again (the fact that I only got my library card yesterday didn't help), I'm pretty proud to have pulled it all together. Now, that's not to say at all that it's a great paper; in fact, I fully expect for it to get torn apart. But I'm really excited to learn from that tearing apart and become a better scholar in the long run.

What really surprised me the most was how into my research I got. I chose this subject because it genuinely interests me, but admit fully that big dense history texts have a nasty history of putting me straight to sleep no matter how much I cerebrally enjoy what I'm reading about (most old-fashioned art history texts are a prime example). It was with a distinct sense of trepidation, then, that I checked out my first big tome-like books (mostly written in the 1930s or earlier) on Sumerian history today and began to read. So, imagine my delight as I found myself sitting on the actual edge of my seat, eagerly turning the pages of a deeply scholarly discussion about the origin of certain toponyms in early Sumerian language! Maybe I've finally found the subject for me... or maybe, in a more cynical take, the adrenaline of trying to finish this assignment on time was keeping me energized no matter what was thrown in front of me. I guess only the next assignment (which I will complete hopefully a bit more at my leisure) will tell =)

The way my tutorial works, I've now submitted my paper which my tutor will read before our meeting on Friday. This gives me two days to enjoy myself and do my Stanford work without the burden of my essay hanging over my head, which is nice, but also by definition makes the actual essay process a bit more stressful as I will only have from Friday afternoon to Tuesday night each week to complete my assignment. This is a rather different approach from most other tutorials as far as I can gather, and we'll see whether I end up enjoying it or not (not that I have a huge choice!).

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