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‘Tis the Season

May 2nd, 2011 cmcurr11

Last week was Holy Cross’ Academic Conference, which consists in undergraduate presentations. The College Honors Program and departmental Honors Programs give seniors the opportunity to present our theses, and I think I received a grand total of 30 event invitations over Facebook. From Wednesday morning to Saturday afternoon, I was in Hogan either giving presentations (I had two) or watching my friends present. What was fascinating was the diverse range of topics that my friends explored for the past year. Margaret argued that fairy tales inculcate certain values of a nation state, and she explored how the rise of a country’s fairy tales is congruent with the rise of their nation/culture. Yes, she watched Disney movies as part of her thesis research – best honors thesis idea ever. Sarah explored the similarities between the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide to see if there are any similar characteristics in the lead-up to both events; she was attempting to isolate a strain of characteristics that could possibly help us detect possible sites of future genocide and stop it before it happens. Bill wrote about food in the Old Testament and how it delves much further than simply offering another person bread. Carrie investigated the similarities and differences in the evolution of the knight ideal in Medieval England and fourteenth century Japan. Colin wrote about literary cartography, and made his own map of Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County.

I presented with the English Honors Panel on Friday afternoon (even though I’m a member of both College Honors and English Honors, I had to present only once). When I was preparing, I saw all of the professors walk in – Kee, Mulrooney, Oser, Ireland, Matlak, Geracht, and even Fr. McFarland. That’s when I started to get nervous. After spending a  year on the topic, I just had visions that someone during the Q&A Session would state what a terrible idea my honors thesis was. Luckily, that did not happen. In fact, quite the opposite – two professors told me that I should seek publication. Of course, they then stated, “Hm. What journal would accept that type of publication….” Yes, welcome to my future life as an academic. It really was a great experience, and I really enjoyed myself once I got in the rhythm of presenting. Everyone did a fantastic job, and I’m just overwhelmed at how brilliant my friends are.

The week ahead is a bit rough – it’s the last official week of classes. Tough to believe, right? Within that time frame, I have to finish a take-home exam for Contemporary Literary Theory, present my findings on Julian of Norwich to Pr. Kee’s Medieval Literature class, visit a convent in Connecticut to hear them sing Vespers, present the initial findings for my Chaucer final paper, and revise my thesis. That’s going to be a bit difficult to do when it’s this beautiful outside:

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