Thursday, 23 February 2012

Progress and Confirmation

I'm going to start out with the happy news, because I am, or at least was and should be, thoroughly geeked about this: I got accepted into U-M's Japanese MA program.  I'm saving this letter!  It's one of the more exciting ones I've gotten in my life time.  Me - this person typing this - moi - I GOT INTO U-M!!!  And last I knew one of my professors hadn't even sent his recommendation, so as of the deadline for the application last month, my application packet was incomplete.  How this happened, if he sent it or if they let it slide because they liked the rest of my application, I don't know.  And it's funny too, because I was talking to one of the professors at my university the other day and he told me U-M's history department wasn't taking grad students this year... (and that they didn't have anybody there working in the era I want to focus on so aside from the language program, his advice was not to bother with them).  Anyway, that's two bits of fantastic news two days in a row.  He's willing to work with me on independent study (and asked if I would be doing thesis track, and he said nothing about being opposed to helping me out with that, so that's better than nothing), another of my professors is being a fantastic cheerleader and helping me with letters of recommendation for internships and courses (research course in Normandy [!!!!!]) and, still up in the air with the department on this one, money for the research course in Normandy.  Then today I got an acceptance letter for the Japanese MA program.  Awesome!

Here's the catch - while I'd be tickled pink to get a  MA from U-M in pretty much whatever, it's basically a master's degree of what I already have which gives me a whole lot of, well, jobs I don't really have in mind as wanting to do for the rest of my life.  They have more advanced language courses, though, and pretty much the only access to medieval Japanese language in this part of the country.  ← I need those!  They also do have Japanese historians in their history department, and a better library / better access to the infuriatingly obscure realm of academic Japanese anything.  On the other hand, they have no history MA, only PhD (and they pretty much only take PhD candidates who already have an MA or are freaking amazing... and while I tell myself I'm amazing to help keep my self esteem from plummeting all the time, freaking amazing is a stretch even on my best day).  And a MA in Japanese isn't going to get me into any of the history PhD programs that I want.... Okay, so dilemma, but I FREAKING GOT INTO U OF M!!  This dilemma will sort itself out!

So, when I started typing this I was all down about housing for the fall and figuring out how to afford living expenses even if (and this nice happy bubble will burst if this "if" doesn't happen) I get a TA job to cover my tuition.  Actually I broke down in tears earlier and spent the last two hours doing relaxation exercises and reading a stupid book (John Dies at the End - that's actually the title) to try to get over it.  I'm over it for now again, which is good.  I have a couple of other things I wanted to write about - the trip to Normandy and a project I've started on WWII for one, fitness goals and progress for another - but my food is ready to eat, so those two can wait for when I have more time to explain them.

But yay for today!!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Buried in Books

Not that I'm really complaining, as I actually enjoy being buried in a mound of books (not literally, of course, that would be painful), but it does make for busy days and weeks.  I haven't done much else aside from reading for the last three weeks.  I did get to see my great-grandma a couple times and hang out with other family.  That's always nice, especially outside of parties.  I hate parties.

I finished the first of my books for class today, Marines in the Revolution: A History of the Continental Marines in the American Revolution, 1775-1783 by Charles Smith.  So, the title is stereotypically dry, but I thought the subject matter would be interesting... it was, but gah was it a dry book!!  Dates, battles, people, names (ships and people), numbers, weights, and basically a play-by-play of the Marine Corps between 1775-1783.... Fair enough, it's what the title said, but lord was it hard to read.  I liked the maps and journal entries, and it was interesting to go more in depth into the battles since we only spent a few minutes covering Nassau and Penobscot Bay in class, and really skipped over the rest... But basically the story was a cycle of Captain So-and-so commissioned, looking for crew for Such-and-such ship, can't find any because the Navy paid crap and they were actually obligated to engage British ships instead of snatching merchant ships like the privateers, maybe get just enough to get underway, crew nears mutiny, British take the ship or the American officers argue over who's in command and thus the mission ends with the Americans either limping home or in prison.  Definitely not the highest point in U.S. military history. :P  I'm okay with reading dry narrative, but there was a lot of name, number, place, and date overload in it.  And now I get to write a review for class.  I may throw it up here if I remember to once the semester is over.

So the book count is now 3/24.  I'm on track!  And I have a couple more books for class that I'm about halfway through, or more, so amazingly, this semester I shouldn't fall behind in my completed books count.  Last semester was all journals and chapters.

Leaving off on a huge bummer - one of the professors who said he would write a recommendation for me never sent it in.  I'm a bit appalled if not overly surprised.  Mostly I'm just bummed, because it means U-M and WMU are both out, at least for next year, but that means there must be something better for me to look for.