Hermione Goes Back to School
Bobby has since resurrected that old designation since I've gone back to school. Actually, I started it: While talking about the imminent start of my first two classes, I said that I'd have to try really hard not to be annoying in class discussions, always jumping in first and getting argumentative which ... erm, well I have a tendency to do because I enjoy debate
My first two classes are American Fiction and English Literature: Beowulf through the 18th Century. The second one--given my affinity for medieval literature--was the one I was looking forward to the most, but I've enjoyed my readings so far for American Fiction as well. This week's assignments for American Fiction were three short stories: "Rip Van Winkle" by Washington Irving, "The Minister's Black Veil" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allen Poe. I have also started (and almost finished ... go figure) The Scarlet Letter, which is our first novel for that class. Other upcoming novels are Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and Norris's McTeague. I'd read The Scarlet Letter as a high school junior (and I think I was the only kid in the class who liked it), but the other two will be new to me.
I am hoping, though, in this class that we do more reading by authors who aren't dead white guys, with no offense intended to the three we've read so far.
Beowulf to 18th is, by its very nature, a more motley collection of shorter readings. This week's assignment was Beowulf (which I'd read, though a different translation) and "The Wanderer." The list of readings for the upcoming week was so long that I don't remember any of them; in any case, they should all be new, which is good.
Next month, I start my Modern Epic Fantasy course (which I've been calling "the Tolkien class," as much of it focuses on Tolkien's works, of course). The books for that shipped yesterday, which I squeed over immensely. I just reviewed the shipping confirmation, and it seems Beowulf is in there again, as is The Hobbit. I guess one can't have too many Beowulfs. (The Danes would probably agree!)
This is my first time taking courses online. When I graduated from UMBC, online education was just getting underway, and most of the online schools were what Bobby and I used to call "cereal box schools": might as well get your degree out of a cereal box. I can tell that, by reviewing the syllabi for my two classes so far, that the amount of reading indicates that an equivalent cereal-box degree would involve quite a bit of digging and probably some poisonous spiders mixed in with the fluffy marshmallow clovers and rainbows.
Anyway, it's always interesting to see what one's classmates are like. For both classes so far, one of the first assignments was to introduce oneself to the class. The Current University requires a literature course before awarding a Bachelor's degree, and Beowulf to 18th is one of only two courses that satisfy it, so a lot of non-English majors take this course. I found it kind of amusing the number of people who, in their introductions to the professor and the class as a whole, said little more other than, "I hate literature and I didn't want to take this class but I had to and I think it's going to be more difficult than it's worth." I can't help but thinking that 1) that's not the best foot to start off with in a class, especially where one thinks one might struggle (and, therefore, depend on the benevolence of professor and classmates for help) and, 2) most importantly, it's just not a good attitude to have period, to go into an unfamiliar experience with the assumption that, "I'm going to hate this." Hey, there are subjects that I don't particularly care for; I have to take a political science class, for example, to get my second degree at this particular university. Having seen my husband through a political science degree and having, therefore, read/copyedited more papers than I care to count on the American Presidency and Constitutional law and international terrorism, I can say that it's a subject that never particularly interested me much. However, I do hope that when I have to take a course in it for the current program, that I don't go into it so convinced that I will hate it and that it is a waste of my time that any value I might have taken from the course is frittered away by my own dismal attitude.
Wow, I am writing really long sentences. I can only claim the influence of early American authors and their endless sentences ...
Anyway, in true Hermione fashion, I am on the edge of my seat for all of my courses and already trying to work ahead and already trying to read the various works numerous times. It feels really great to be back in school again.
This reminds me: Does anyone have an Hermione icons they don't mind sharing (with full credit, of course) or know where I can find any? I'd like one or several for my school posts, besides that Hermione is my favorite HP character so I should have one or several anyway. 8^)
And, most importantly, I'm shit lately for replying to emails and comments. If anyone wants/needs an immediate reply from me, email is still the best way. I still read my email several times a day, I just don't have time to reply right away, more often than not. My apologies for any unintended rudeness.