Some weeks back, I think I mentioned that I’m back in school, trying to earn my history degree at UC-Berkeley. I’ll talk more about it soon, I promise. About the dull class that has turned out to be much more engaging than I imagined it could be during that first week. About the very challenging class on linguistics that has me thinking about the merits of going for a pass/not pass grade. About the oddly off-putting experience of a sociology-type class looking at the phenomenon of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, and how I’ve dropped that one.
But for now, this: The week before last, I had to turn in my first paper since the Carter administration. The class is Irish history–I half feel like the native Parisian taking Elementary French, but that’s another story. The paper was to be a reflection on the record that Alexis de Tocqueville, the 19th century political sociologist, left of a trip he took through Ireland in 1835. (Do I hear pulses speeding up out there in blogland?)
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To be honest, it was a hard paper to write. I felt self-conscious, and realized late in the process that I was a little hung up on how the professor and the graduate student instructor would be reading this thing. Lucky for me, the deadline for the paper was soft, because I stalled writing the introduction, and it wasn’t until I was on the second half of it that I felt like I knew what I wanted to say and how to say it.
It was eventually turned in, and I got it back yesterday. And hey, I got an A on it. So now on to the next thing. But I’ll admit that I got a little surge of pleasure out of having written the thing and about the good reception it got. And if you’re interested, here’s the paper as I turned it in (all 2,500-plus words, complete with a couple of unedited errors that I’ve left in to trip up future student plagiarizers, if any).