Ahh... Michigan. School is over before May 1st, and I will have four months of beautiful weather to enjoy before school starts up again in the fall. Wait, what was that? School starting up again? Haha just kidding!! I get to have 8 months of vacation, that's right.
I'll probably keep rubbing it in, but if I'm not productive during that time (i.e. writing and defending my prospectus and writing at least one draft of a chapter) I'm going to be pretty upset with myself. Yesterday I went down to the grad library and got a carrel. It's much less distracting working down there than it is up at the school of music. The chairs are more comfortable, there's more natural light, there's a door I can close so that people won't bother me. The only problem is that my lovely carrel mate (someone who seems to be working in history and women's studies, much like me) has decided to throw her stuff everywhere. I left a note kindly asking her to consolidate to one shelf, but I have a feeling that won't happen. Whatever happens, at least I asked, so I won't feel badly moving her stuff around next time I go over there.
Seminar paper - 5/20 pages. Not bad, considering the beginning is always the hardest part for me to write. I think this will end up being a good paper, but it will need a lot of editing before I can turn it into an article. The first five pages are probably the most theoretical I've ever attempted in a paper before, except maybe my women's studies paper on Nadia Boulanger from last semester (although, to be fair, I understand a lot more of the theory I'm working with now). I'm excited about it, despite how slowly it's going. And I have responded to Stein's criticism of my last seminar paper by footnoting basically every sentence. Perhaps that's overkill, but it's better than too few.
I've also been grading the papers for musicology 240 and I wish that I could say that there's a marked improvement from last semester to the end of this semester, but there really isn't. Some people have really refined their writing, or else maybe they came in with the ability to put words together in sentence form, I'm not sure. It's very frustrating for me, because I feel like most of my comments and advice have fallen on deaf ears this semester. I really liked my students, for the most part, but I have never met a group of kids more intent on point-grubbing and complaining about assignments than this bunch. I'll never forget the two that came up to me last semester, complaining about the fact that I gave them 4/5 on their papers because they didn't write introductions:
Students: "Just so you know, we didn't write introductions because the paper prompt didn't say to. So keep that in mind next time you're grading."
Me: "Just so you know, keep it in mind that you're sophomores in college who should know how to write papers by now. The prompt didn't say they had to be in English, did it?"
Yeah, I actually didn't say that last line, but I wish I had. Ridiculous. It's like they thought of every excuse to not do things, instead of just sucking it up and doing what they're meant to as students. It really makes me sad to see people waste educational opportunities, because, despite my problems with 240, I think there's a lot that people can get out of it if they just listen to the music. Actually, maybe that's what makes me most upset - these are music majors and they couldn't care less about listening to music. I understand that feeling, sometimes. It was very difficult being motivated to study for my special fields exam, but I loved most of the music that I had to listen to, and now I can say that I'm an expert on a lot of it. I hope that these kids realize that they're not going to get orchestra jobs "when they grow up", and that writing is going to become the only way for them to make it in the real world. Sorry, kiddos, but dems da truth. I'm living proof of that one.
Well, I suppose my goals for today are rather minimal because of errands that I have to run, but here they are: finish grading the papers, look over my seminar paper and see if I can fix/change/add, and go grocery shopping so that I can make a delicious dinner (pasta primavera and lemon chicken). Should be a good day!