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30 April 2007

Hello All!

It's been a while since I've updated (as always), but the grad school life has continued on with all of the usual intensity, fun, and anxiety!

Virginia has been a very newsworthy place lately, and the Virginia Tech tragedy has had a great effect on UVa. as well. Many many many of the undergraduates here (and some of my graduate colleagues) knew people at VT and the events have left everyone a bit numb, a lot anxious, and incredibly sad. I know the effects have been far reaching, well outside the state and the country. It is especially disconcerting for me, as I will be starting to teach in the Fall here, and thinking of the responsibilities I'll have to try and keep my students as safe and as comfortable in the classroom as possible has some extra meaning to it now. Virginia, the nation, and the world are united in prayer and concern!

The semester is winding down, and the end of my first year is in sight! There is so much to do! I have final papers to consider, and in a few weeks I'll be heading off to Michigan for my first professional conference. I've been to two smaller conferences, but this will be my first biggie. Wish me luck!

Grad school has really been a wild learning experience, and I've had a lot of fun. I've had my share of ups and downs as well. Harsh critiques of work, a sense of competition and the general intellectual anxiety that comes with this type of endeavor is certainly present. But, I was so happy to find, that mixed with all those things is a sense of community, a communal intellectual drive, and the excitement of new work.

I got some good news too. I won the first year essay prize for some of my work on Petrarchism! Very exciting, not only because of the accolade, but mainly for the money! The poor grad student life affords us very little for the decadent lifestyle we like to live!

Now, people like to make fun of me for this, but I really do love going out to the Virginia countryside with some of the people here and seeing the vineyards here. Central Virginia is a great wine producer and it’s a fun, bucolic, and really cheap thing to do to go tasting. A friend and I did it yesterday and it was the perfect break before the storm!

Good luck guys!

27 March 2007

Hello All!

It's been a whirlwind of stuff to do as always, but spring is here in Virginia and it makes it all a little easier to take. There have been some adventures too! Two weeks ago I went to visit Ann in Tampa. It was the first time I'd ever been to Florida (answered finally were the days of being the only kid in fourth grade who never went to Disney World)!

I'm working on a bunch of projects after having already finished a pile of work, it never ends! I'm working on some essays and term papers, as well as drafting a conference paper for the Donne Society.

I remember it was only a year ago that I was getting ready to visit UVa. for the first time knowing that I would go to graduate school here. It was an exciting time, and it seems so long ago. Time flies!

For those of you seniors who are looking towards graduation, have some fun!

More soon! Tim

18 February 2007

Hello All!

What a week it's been. This last weekend I was presenting a paper at a conference at Duke. It was a graduate colloquium and so much more laid back than conferences normally are. It was great to meet other young graduate students working in the field as well as to mingle with some faculty and more experienced people as well. I think my paper was very well received and I got some great feedback and met some great people.

Things in Cville are going well, as ever. It's been busy to say the least, and the semester really has flown by! I'm loving my classes though and definitely am enjoying the grad student life.

Tonight a friend of mine, a brilliant fellow graduate student from Singapore, is throwing a Chinese New Year's party and we're all bringing something. I'm going to attempt to make bacon wrapped dates (an oddly popular hors d'oeuvre down here), but we'll see how it goes. Either way, the year of the Pig is looking to start out quite well! Despite some astrological problems with the year.

For all of you Crusaders awaiting important graduate school decisions, I feel you! I remember a year ago how stressed and nervous I was, but you'll all get through it, and whatever you do, live up this last semester, it's a different world on the other side.

Hope all is well!

29 January 2007

Hello All!

Sorry for the delay, this brand new semester has hit the ground running! Life is good in Charlottesville though, and, as usual, very fun. Last night, a group of we English grad students ended up at a pheasant roast. A hunter/ English grad student friend of ours went hunting and so we had a proper potluck. It was really good!

This is already a very busy semester, and it's only going to get busier. My classes are very good. I'm taking one course that explores the emotional ductus in lyric poetry, another on contemporary critical methods, and a third independent study on Spenser, Ariosto, and Tasso. We also have a required weekly seminar on pedagogy that prepares us for our teaching assignments next fall.

A lot of stuff to do in the upcoming weeks as well. I have two conference papers to write, some jobs to apply for (some jobs to actually do, come to think of it) and a lot of reading, writing, thinking, twitching, stressing. But, this is the life! Twitches and all!

Happy Spring semester Crusaders!

04 January 2007

Hello All!

I hope your holidays went very well. I'm sorry to, once again, having had such a delay between posts, but the holiday was a busy time. I've been off from grad school since the middle of December (my friends in the working world are jealous), and have been trying to fill the time with at least some academic pursuits. I'm drafting a book review, reading up on some recent criticism, and preparing for some of my projects and courses next term, but mainly, I've been catching up with friends and family and having a great time.

I've gotten to see my fiancée Ann a great deal which has been a great perk of being up here. I've also seen many of my home friends and on New Year’s got to see a huge chunk of my Holy Cross crew at my friend John’s '06. It's a great comfort, being an alum and still being able to keep in touch and see people that are a huge part of your life.

I've recently been feeling how hard the transition to adulthood can be. It's a whole new way of seeing yourself. In the Ph.D. world, this becomes especially essential, because your role as a graduate student not only makes you take on the familiar territory of student, but also that of teacher, and so "professionalism" becomes the codeword under which everyone tries to function! This brave new world hit me as friends and I were watching one of those high school type movies where young guys develop elaborate schemes to seduce women all while attending parties full of good looking California types. We were shocked by how much older we are than the characters in the movie! Of course, we're also not as rich, misogynistic, or shallow as the characters in the movie, but it did seem to be a window into a world that we are no longer a part of (did I ever attend parties with California types? you might ask--well maybe I did...ok, I didn't).

But though we might not be in high school, or even college anymore (in the undergrad sense anyway), I can tell you (to the comfort of those of you who are soon-to-be alums) that the "adult" world, as adult as it could be described, though full of anxiety, uncertainty, and a general sense that a fun part of your life has ended, is actually a lot of fun, and fun on a whole new scale. I've traveled through more states in the last six months than I have in my entire life to date, and though running one's own life may seem a lot to handle, it results in the most liberating freedom.

So as 2007 starts, my first full year as an alum and "adult," I'm ready for the challenges with, as the song goes, a little help from my friends.

For now though, all goals are short term, I've exiled myself to a coffee shop from which I'm typing and am going to have a little breakfast party with Spenser and some other Renaissance greats. Woo hoo!

Happy 2007 all!

11 December 2006

Hello all!

Well, it's 3 am and I'm up with a friend working on one of my two term papers due this week. My friend Kiera and I are up late drinking sweet tea and toiling through the last bit of work separating us from winter break. On Friday, I am taking a break from Charlottesville and heading up to NYC to visit my fiancée before heading home for the holidays. I can't believe how fast my first semester has gone by, it's been a wild time and I'm just two papers and an exam away from having successfully completed my first semester of graduate work.

It was oddly warm today in C-ville and I actually spent a lot of it dressed in shorts and sandals. I don't think my body knows what to do with this odd warm temperature in December. Southern living can definitely has its high points, though I'm glad to be northward bound for a chilly holiday!

Back to my paper! If you've ever wondered what Sidney does with genre in the third book of the revised Arcadia...crazy stuff my friends...crazy stuff

Good luck with your exams!

04 December 2006

Hello all!

Well things have been, as always, busy down here at UVa. I have been having a great time celebrating the near end of our first graduate school semester with my colleagues, but the end of the semester sadly has never meant just partying and the work has really piled up, but facing these larger projects gives me a sense of what the profession I'm getting into expects and its been a great learning experience.

This past weekend my friend Drew '06 visited from the D.C. area and I got to show him around the campus and take him to some English grad student gatherings. It was fun to have an HC person around, and reminded me, as so much does, of how strong the alumni connection really is.

Thursday night was the annual "Lighting of the Lawn," a UVa. celebration where the historic lawn (planned out by Thomas Jefferson) is lit up with Christmas lights while student music organizations sing holiday songs. Being a graduate student, we don't always get to feel as large a part of the whole University community. We are after all, at a different stage in our lives (even if some, like me, are only 6 months or so into the new stage!) But it was a great opportunity to be a part of a great holiday tradition, plus it made me excited to be back soon for the holidays, my nephew Teddy's first!

Last night was a massive GESA (Graduate English Student Association) party and anyone who says English graduate students don't know how to party clearly wasn't in Charlottesville last night. Yet after a night of fun, the work awaits! Good luck with the end of semester guys!

Oh! And good luck to our basketball team this Wednesday! I may be watching the game with an avid Duke fan, so tensions will run high!

20 November 2006

Hello all, sorry for the delay but things have been really busy down at UVa. I am back home in Massachusetts now and am enjoying my first extended break since beginning graduate school. It's amazing how much entering "the adult world" and graduate school can change the way you see the world, so it's so nice to come back to my roots and take some time to relax and put everything in perspective. The huge amount of work, the new locale, and a whole new way of approaching literary studies has been a lot to adjust too, but it's been a great experience! I've met great people, done some great things, and it's all starting!

We get a long time off for Thanksgiving, but with the semester almost over it's crunch time, a lot of papers need to be written not to mention the exams looming! I am excited to have completed my first semester of graduate school work though, and am excited to start the next semester a little savvier about the grad school life.

Yesterday and today I got to reconnect with my HC and hometown roots after having been in VA for months. Last night, I went to see Sarah '06 and Meg '06 at their apartment to share stories about our newfound adulthood. Tonight, some of my hometown boys and I hit the road and got to talk about our high school days. It's amazing how comforting home can be, but I'm still so excited for the road ahead, as stressful and new as it may be.

I hope you all are going to have a good Turkey Day!

31 October 2006

Ah, so fall has settled into Charlottesville and the lawn was speckled with jack o' lanterns as we walked home from our medieval class. I forgot how dark these post daylight savings times are, and it's quite pretty even if a bit gloomy at times!

Work continues at a steady pace, but we're already looking forward to the next semester. We registered for courses today and are all talking about what courses we'll be taking. I'm taking a pretty nice spread: a tutorial on The Faerie Queene, hopefully a course on medieval and renaissance poetry, a course on early 18th century literature, and auditing a Latin course on Ovid! It's amazing how fast time flies by here.

A few of my graduate school compadres and I are heading up to NYC on Thursday to get out of C-ville for a bit. I'll get to visit my fiancée and live it up in a big city for the weekend, then a week or two after that: home for Thanksgiving! This semester really is melting away.

Oh, and some exciting news. One of the big parts of graduate school is "professionalization" or learning how to be a part of academe, it involves converting research into publishable journal articles and conference papers. Well, I've gotten a jump start and was accepted to present some of my research with the John Donne Society panel at the ICMS conference in May! It'll be great to gain the experience and to get feedback on my work!  I hope you all are enjoying the nice Worcester November, live it up people and enjoy the crispness! It was 70 degrees here!

October 16, 2006

Well life on the Ph.D. track has become a bit calmer now that papers and presentations are done for a bit. Last week was a whirl of papers and presentations to prepare, but I managed to get through it all. I'm a bit nervous awaiting the comments on the first papers.  It'll be the first evaluation in a whole new academic sphere!

Life in grad school, though, has been quite fun. I got in from a trip to NYC (more on that below) last night and one of my friends picked me up and took me over to one of our friend's house where we had a  "reading party" where we read Sidney's Arcadia while eating potato pancakes and drinking coffee. As in undergrad, we find ways to keep ourselves happy, well-fed, and connected even as the work piles up. 

Reading Sidney's Arcadia (warning--nerd moment approaching) really helped me reconnect with why I love the Renaissance and why I'm in grad school in the first place. We grad students are an infamously disgruntled crowd, and yet every so often we get to connect with the beauty of what we're doing, and how lucky we are to actually get paid for reading, writing, teaching, and being a part of the academic system! I'm continually impressed with how much of a community there is here.  I think my HC background has helped me make the most of the society of my colleagues!

If I seem a bit more positive than usual, it is probably because there was a quite major development this weekend. I got to see a lot of my HC friends and it was great to see them! Drew '06 and I covered the distance between DC and NYC in a pretty great road trip that ended in getting to see a lot of my old HC crew again. It's great to be able to stay so connected! Yet, the big part of the weekend was definitely seeing my girlfriend Ann '06, and what can I say? I proposed! We're now engaged and I'm on cloud nine. My home friends and HC crew have been so supportive, but so have my UVA crowd who wanted to know every detail upon my return.

I'll keep you all updated on the adventures as they unfold!

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