this, if all goes according to the sketchy plans I have sketched in collaboration with the English department and my advisor, will be my last semester of coursework. the last time I sit in a classroom as a graduate student.
it feels like a very different semester already. an edge. a transition.
the season and the weather seem to echo this. or at least that is the way I am going to write about it all.
today it is raining in spurts, like a chilly and unkempt spring. Tuesday's snow is long since melted. it'll be back this weekend. the universe is giving us yo-yo-ing seasons, somewhat drab all the way through, with occasional bright sunset smudges.
the trees are bare. my apartment windows open onto more distant views than they did in summer and fall. at night, more and more streetlights perpetually leak into my bedroom under the edges of the blinds. I notice the faces of buildings I have never seen from such an angle before. expanses of roads and curb and green up the hill peek out between branches. it's the same neighborhood. but different. a few days ago it was all white and grey, snow and shadow. today it's still grey, but more slick and shine, a little warmer, and soggy.
this semester feels different too, barer than others have been and yo-yo-ing in its own way. class on Mondays, teaching on Tuesdays, alternate thusly for the rest of the week. research meetings and office hours, writing time, scraps of reading, planning, list-making.
English 631 World Englishes, with Dr. Margie Berns
this is my linguistics requirement. it's been a long time since I took a class that met more than once or twice a week. World Englishes is a one-hour thrice-weekly seminar. short, but interesting. and full of students from other programs, too. it should be pretty chill and relatively basic, for my last bit of coursework ever. I am already pondering project ideas. various Englishes as used in online volunteer communities... or various Englishes as they are negotiated/tolerated in social media somehow.
English 699 Research Hours, with Dr. Patricia Sullivan
not a class, really, but a placeholder to make the registrar's office happy. the credits I earn here are up to me to direct. this is time to plan the rest of my graduate career and start writing a prospectus. what will it all be about? to help me figure that out, I'm revisiting some of my previous projects and pondering the feedback professors have given me. I feel like I'm off to a slow start, but maybe that's okay. everyone says not to compare yourself to your colleagues. so I won't. some of them have their dissertation projects outlined and their committees chosen already. I do not. but I will, eventually.
English 421 Technical Writing
I get to teach a new professional writing class this semester. my students seem pretty cool so far. they have plenty of experience to share and our discussion yesterday went pretty well. texting vs email vs. facebook, and how you figure out the best way to communicate (or not) using all these options.
I look forward to figuring out the rhythms of the next sixteen weeks. so many kinds of work-- teaching, researching, scholaring. there will be grading and analyzing and writing and reading. I need to think about making a reading list for myself. put deadlines on calendars. two more years isn't that long.