Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Where I've Been and What I've Done for the Past Nine Months, or YAY!It's Summer!

Hey everyone! 

So it seems like it's been FOREVER since I've gotten the chance to talk to any of you (and it kind of HAS been forever . . . I guess I'm just feeling it more this time around)! Anyways, I'm happy to say that the semester is finally over for me, and summer has began! For those of you who've known me for awhile, you know that breaks from school (especially summer break) are the times when I have the chance to be more "present" around the book blogosphere, and I'm hoping to continue that tradition this summer. But before I talk about where things are going, I want to do a bit of a school year recap, for those of you who care about what I've been doing over the last nine months. (I did two other mini recaps in November and January, and you're welcome to check those out as well). 

School Recap

As of May 16th, I have officially made it through my first year of graduate school and my first year of teaching! I know this is going to sound cliche, but I really can't believe how fast everything went! I loved teaching so much that it led to me "officially" deciding that I'll be getting a Ph.D in English after I finish my Master's in English (that is, if I can get in) so that I can eventually pursue a career as a college professor. Big decision? You bet. Scary? Definitely. But it's also incredibly exciting.

Because I got a head start on my MA as an undergrad, thanks to senior permission, I'm only 12 hours away from completely my degree. As such, I decided not to take any summer courses this year, because I'm required to be enrolled in at least 6 hours per semester to keep my graduate assistantship, which allows me to teach. I also decided that instead of graduating early with my MA in a year or a year and a half, I'd spend the full two years in the program (I mean, it IS paid for) so I could come out with a solid two years of teaching experience to put on my CV. The great thing about this is that my course load this coming year will be much lighter than this past year, which means I'll (hopefully) have extra time to work on my degree papers, Ph.D applications, and comprehensive exams. 

So, other than taking classes and teaching them, what have I been up to? Well, in March, I presented at the Popular Culture Association Conference in Washington D.C. along with a few of my other colleagues. Our topic was one many of you would probably be interested in: whitewashing in young adult literature and media. You can check out the abstract here if you want to know more. I later presented my portion of the project at my own university's Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference.

This past semester, I also enrolled in a MOOC, or Massive Open Online Course (as if I didn't have enough schoolwork already)! The topic of the MOOC was Gender Through Comic Books, and it was a wonderfully interesting and fulfilling course. For those of you who are interested in free, educational experiences, MOOCs are fantastic! I was a little hesitant because this MOOC was my first, but I loved the experience, and I'm planning on enrolling in more MOOCs in the future! As a matter of fact, this MOOC inspired me to write my Critical Theory seminar paper on violence against women in superhero comics, so I got to branch out a bit and explore a side of literature that I hadn't done a lot with in the past.

What I've Read/Been Reading

I'm still working on Blackout, but the rest of these were finished over the past semester.

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3)StungClockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)
The Turn of the Screw: Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticism (A Norton Critical Edition)The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone ByeBatwoman, Vol. 1: Hydrology
Batman: The Killing JokeOliver TwistRachel Rising: The Shadow of Death (Rachel Rising, #1)
Teen Titans, Vol. 1: It's Our Right to FightCinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy, #3)
Dance of Shadows (Dance of Shadows, #1)The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1)The Art of Racing in the Rain

What I've Watched/Been Watching

With the exception of Hemlock Grove, I'm behind on ALL of these shows. 

Plans for the Summer

As you all already know, I am planning a return to blogging this summer. However, because of other commitments (weddings, graduations, birthdays, family vacations, studying for comps, lesson planning for the fall, putting together Ph.D applications, you get the picture), I'm not sure yet as to HOW active that return will be. My tentative goal for the moment is to shoot for a post or two a week at the beginning and see how that works out. I also have thousands of posts from other book blogs that are sitting in my feed reader, and I'd really like to catch up on them at some point. 

I'm also planning on incorporating some posts about comics and graphic novels into my summer blogging. I read a LOT of great material while taking the Gender Through Comic Books MOOC and while doing research for my paper, and I can't wait to share some of it with you! 

Anyways, I've missed you all, and I'm excited to get back in the game. Here's to a happy, healthy vacation, filled with lots of awesome people and awesome books! 
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