Friday, October 05, 2007

Campus Frustrations

I'm frustrated as hell with my University at the moment. We have some great medievalists in the English department and we have a Medieval Studies MA in the English department(or so it seems but good luck finding clear info on it). We don't have a Medieval Studies program for undergrads. We don't have any clear support system for Medievalist in training or those even interested in it. I only know about our Society for Renaissance and Medieval studies because I was searching to make sure there wasn't already a Medieval club before I started getting paper work together.

You don't know who to talk to either for advice, and until this year the History department was devoid of Medievalists. So who do you talk to? The Chaucerian? The Anglo-Saxonist? The random Medievalist grad student that assures you there are lots of Medievalists floating about and tells you about all these great graduate classes?

How many undergrads are losing out because they don't know where to look or how to talk to? If I hadn't taken any upper level English classes I wouldn't know half of what I do about those to talk to on campus. Shouldn't out advisers be pointing students in the direction of faculty to talk to and actually advising us based on our goals? Shouldn't the enrollment system keep Freshmen out of upper level seminar classes? (Whoops different rant).

I'm still going to try and put together the Medieval Club, since the SRMS isn't a 'student' organization (and seems to be many grad students but they don't even make it clear what the requirements to join are). I want other students interested in becoming Medievalists to have the feeling of not being alone, whether they come from the History or English side of it. I want to get my fellow students interested in the subject. It's going to be a hell of alot of work, and I'm insane for doing it with everything else I have on my plate (including being in the Classics Club).

Tonight I plan nothing more ambitious than buying a bottle of wine and ordering in Indian. And if I do anything more than write my paper and watching Dresden Files this weekend, I'll be shocked.

2 comments:

Michael said...

If you email me, mdrout@wheatoncollege.edu , I can give you the name of the specific person at your institution who is both a great medievalist and a great teacher and who would probably be the right person to talk to. One option students had at the University of Missouri was to take certain graduate classes for undergraduate credit.

Mardahin said...

Hey, there is nothing wrong with those plans for the weekend. They sound rather like mine, although I've got five papers instead of just the one (luckily it's Thanksgiving weekend up here, so I've got Monday off).

Though you bitch, my university has only one medievalist on staff, and I didn't find out who she was until after it was too late to swap out classes for the fall term (and she's offering nothing in spring). So I'm taking Chaucer & Pearl Poet studies next year, but I don't know when yet. They only offer a couple of medieval studies courses a year at Malaspina. On the bright side, my Brit Lit 18th C specialist prof is actually a big medieval geek, so we've been doing a lot more indepth study in our Brit Lit to the Restoration than is actually necessary. Have I mentioned how much I adore Professor Atkinson?