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The Entry For Which You’ve All Been Waiting

June 16th, 2010 cmcurr11

I had my last tutorial as an Oxford undergraduate (notice what I did there!) today. Coincidentally, it happened to be with the Senior Tutor at Mansfield College, Dr. Lucinda Rumsey, and she asked me what I thought of this entire year. Let me be perfectly blunt: This year has been the best year of my life (yes, I know that I have many years ahead of me, but roll with me, people!). With regards to academics, I’ve been able to study topics in depth with some of the world’s greatest medievalists. Taking a course on Paleography with Ralph Hanna is something about which most undergraduate (and graduate!) Medieval Studies students dream. I’ve been so blessed to work with such amazing scholars who are so passionate and at the top of their field. Now, I’m not saying that the faculty and staff at Holy Cross aren’t at the top of their field and/or not passionate (quite the opposite, really), but the one-on-one tutorial system has provided me with such amazing opportunities to explore these in-depth topics in such a detailed meeting. On top of that, the flexibility of the tutorial system allowed me to choose (and, in some cases, design) classes that I simply wouldn’t have had the opportunity to take at Holy Cross. In case you haven’t noticed, I like the Medieval period. While Holy Cross is great for introduction and intermediate level Medieval courses, I wanted more specialized  courses, which resulted in me taking The History of the English Language, The Age of Bede, Medieval Paleography, Medieval Female Mystical Literature, and The History of the British Isles: 1045-1215. Furthermore, the tutorial system operates very much on what you put into it is what you get out of it. Yes, I guess that you could argue that American universities operate this way as well. But the tutorial system is a bit different, since you literally have to teach yourself (and the tutors are there to tell you if you’ve screwed up or not). In addition, this year has really refined my research and writing abilities. When you only have a week to learn everything about a topic and then condense an argument into 2,500 words, you learn how to refine your writing style. So, this year, the academic side of life has been one of the best years of my life. Every course that I took was engaging and invigorating, and each tutor challenged me and pushed me far beyond what I thought were my capabilities. These academic opportunities that I’ve had this past year will also hopefully serve me well when I begin graduate school applications (*gulp*). But let’s not talk about that, shall we? Let’s just enjoy today and the fact that I’m free from actual school work until September 1st, which is when classes begin at Holy Cross. Then again, let’s not talk about that either!

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