Sunday, October 29, 2006

Past the half-way mark for the first semester

So, we just passed the half-way mark for the first semester, things are heating up so far as deadlines and papers go. I'm having to get really focused to get things done. More than once I've recognized that panicked feeling that usually leads to being short-tempered and bitchy. Ah, yes, even something you love can get to you.

That said, it's still absolutely amazing how my separate courses continue t merge into a unified whole. The questions I ask in one class could just as well be asked in the other(s). My paper for one class will cite the same works, some of them, as the other. But integrating at that level is really hard. First of all, it's not required. You don't get anything for it in terms of grade. And it's harder than keeping things separate. But it's so compelling for other reasons. That makes it hard to resist. I suppose that what I'll end up doing is just not dwelling on the connections right now, but noting them (where?) and preparing for the point at where integration will be not only tolerated and encouraged, but required -- when I get ready to choose and write a dissertation topic.

Right now, the paper I was planning to write for KMS seems like it's already been written to some degree by Karen Calhoun in her Report for the Library of Congress on the future of cataloging. Not quite the angle I need to focus on, KMS and its role in the future of libraries, but much of the foundational work that supports the need for change is already there. That just makes the predicate easier to place, and it leaves me more pages to devote to creative thinking about how to reach the new audience. She deals with that to some degree, but seems to be focused more on how to enhance services for the existing customer. My big problem is stopping reading and starting writing. The paper, well, 5 pages of it, is due in about 48 hours and I have yet to put pen to paper. Actually, that's not true. I already have 6 pages of outline, but I need to modify it considerably to be turning in something other than what I have already turned in. How long will that take me? That is actually a more important question for life as a grad student than I could have imagined. It turns out that how long things take is so fundamentally different for this kind of work than for the work I did before that it becomes a central problem -- I get considerably anxious about the fact that I need alot more time to get things done than I am used to taking. I had gotten so efficient at my other work that I could accurately predict pretty much precisely what I needed to get anything done, and do it in less than even I budgeted for it. But not anymore. Everything takes forever...

But I am on the home stretch. Tomorrow is preregistration for next semester. I will take the plunge and keep swimming. I don't expect things to be any easier next semester, but supposedly, the second year is easier than the first. I don't know. At least there is 6 weeks off at Christmas and 3 months off at summer. And spring break. And Thanksgiving. Not to say I live for the off-time. I love this. But it is so demanding of my time and energy. In fact, if I didn't love it, it would kill me.

Back to the paper. Oh, one other thing. I placed out of 16 hours of french in advanced placement and have qualified to take a 3rd year french course. This is a major hurdle in my plan to do some research in France next summer. It means I can take a course to improve speaking in the spring, and be better equipped to handle the language while I am there in the summer. Now to figure out where, with whom, what to do, etc....

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