Monthly Archives: February 2011

Academic Life at Bates…

Hey all. As I write this, I’m sitting on my couch under a blanket in my pajamas. It’s February break and I’m back in New York relaxing, enjoying my mom’s home cooking and catching up on some much needed rest. Sweatpants, slippers and sweatshirts have been the clothing of choice for the past few days: I call it the “SSS” collection, perfect for when you want to be as comfortable as possible.┬áStill, while I eat homestyle food and ponder trademarking an “SSS” clothing line from the comforts of my couch, I have to focus on a lot of academic work.

Due the first monday of break was the second chapter of my senior thesis. It was only a draft, but completing it meant countless hours of researching, note-taking, working on proper citations and of course, writing. I spent much of the first weekend of break writing up chapter two while doing some extensive editing. I love the topic for my thesis. I’m focusing on race and class relations in colonial New York City through the lens of a slave uprising known as the New York Conspiracy of 1741. It’s essentially an in-depth research paper, which will ultimately be about 50 pages or perhaps even more. It’s a daunting project to work on in just one semester, but taking it little-by-little makes the process easier. I try not to get too stressed about it because, well, how many times in your life to you get the chance to complete a comprehensive study on a topic of your choosing?

Stack of thesis books:


In addition to thesis, I have several papers due the week I get back. For my Age of Independence in Latin America class I need to write a paper about the second set of wars for independence in Latin America. Between 1808-1826, most of Latin America became independent, one way or another, from Spain. My paper is focusing on some of the factors (both external and internal) that led to the creation of new nations as well as on the ideological differences between the wars for independence and the earlier set of revolts, rebellions and uprisings that didn’t ultimately lead to independence. As a history nerd, I’m enjoying writing this paper.

For my English class, Fiction in the U.S., I have to find a peer-review critical essay that focuses on a piece of literature (novel or short story) that we’ve read in class. In a short paper, I need to summarize the essay, while also using my knowledge of the material to critically analyze the peer-reviewed work. This paper isn’t due for a week, but I think I am going to focus on James Baldwin’s, “Sonny’s Blues.” It’s a fantastic short story. Read “Sonny’s Blues” here if you’re interested in checking it out.

For my Spanish class, Spanish Caribbean Literature, I am writing a paper based on a documentary on Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. In the paper, I’m analyzing how the documentary presents Castro as an individual hero of the public. Castro is a deeply complicated man, both intelligent and ruthless. I’m excited to be writing about this topic, though the fact that it has to be written entirely in Spanish does make it extra time-consuming.

On top of this academic work, I’m in the midst of an intense job search. I’m casting a wide net and keeping my options open. I was accepted to interviews for two separate jobs yesterday. This is exciting, but it also requires a lot more preparation as well as logistical planning (both positions require extensive traveling). In the meantime, I’m continuing to look for more positions!

So, while I continue to sport the “SSS” collection, there is plenty to do. Until next time, it’s back to work!

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