I have slipped into a new routine since the beginning of the semester. I get up early every morning, entirely too early to be decent, drive up to campus, and knock out an enormous amount of homework. There are few drawbacks to this plan; it has cut back greatly on my black-hole time and eliminated some stress.
Unfortunately, I am spending 4 mornings a week solely on homework, and goodness knows a solid chunk besides in my evenings and between classes. Nonetheless, I am just managing to get my basic, weekly, homework assignments done in a manner satisfactory to me. Granted, I have already started to put some work in on my senior seminar, but the fact remains that the major assignments for this semester have not yet hit. I can already tell that this one is going to be a bit of a wild ride...which I already kind of knew when I got into it.
I am going to have to concentrate on finding ways to do research faster than I have been accustomed to in previous semesters. I am going to have to forgo reading books in favour of reading sections of those same books; I simply will not have time to read entire texts for all of the papers this semester; there will be a bit more cherry-picking than I like, but since required readings this semester come to around 13 books, several of those in German, with additional readings besides, and since I have research papers outside my senior project, I do not see that I can avoid it.
And there lies the blessing and the curse of demanding professors. They demand that you force yourself to work on another level entirely; they keep you focused on--and engaged with--your task. Their attentions may also, however, be damaging to the garnering of a broader perspective, and the plain collection of knowledge for the sake of knowing. Where there is no time to learn, except for those things most closely related to the topic at hand, then the other interests must be sacrificed.
I will be writing about Austria this semester, particularly, the Austrian role in WWII and subsequent portrayal of Austrian victimhood. So many books, across which I have happened, describe Wien in almost rapturous terms; it is a perfect city of enlightenment, music, culture, diversity, and plenty. Austrian society itself, of course, has an easy hospitality not often equaled in barbarian nations. And yet, I have also read several books, which provide perspectives that are, ah, contrary. Rather, portraying Austria as a society still engaged in propagating a lie, and still suffering from a deep-seated sickness of the soul: repressed evil, Freud would be thrilled.
I want to figure out where the notions come from, why the allies codified them, and what--more or less--is the truth of the matter.
I wonder how many senior seminars they let one take? The next one is going to be on a topic in ancient or medieval history: tasty. I bet I could get it to count for an other world history, dontcha' think? Like, if it were about the Ottomans or Saracens. Ok, antiquity I could do something outside West Europe, I'll find something, damme!
Oh yes, and every so often, when the diligent student is supposed to be doing schoolwork, he instead decides it is time to post another entry on his long neglected blog. A waste of time? Mayhaps. But certainly good for safeguarding my sanity.
That is enough, I'll write something more interesting and less pitiful sounding next time, but this is what was on my mind for the time being.