18 August 2009

After modern.

NOT to be confused with postmodern, which is a bit different.

I took my modern exam yesterday, and I was really surprised with the exam.

First of all, they changed the format of the exam, something that I wasn't expecting them to do and something that they hadn't done for at least 7 years, from what I can tell from old exams.

In preparing for exams, I prepared myself to answer in the fashioned that I described below: 4 short answers comprising about 1 hour total, betwen 1/2 to 3/4 of a page each, followed up with 2 long answers, each being about 1 hour.

So, they pulled a fast one on me, getting me to read that whole entire huge list because I was really nervous for the short questions (the long questions too, but especially the short questions for some reason), and they got rid of the short questions!

I was left with answering 3 long questions, the first being a pair of two questions and choosing one, and then choosing two out of a group of four.

The choices were, basically (I won't write out the whole questions because I don't think that anyone actually reads this blog and even if they do, I don't want to completely bore you):

A. women or partisan's in Calvino's Sentiero dei nidi di ragno
B. Discuss the malessere of Zeno and his triumphs and/or defeats.

A. Pirandello's use of the play-within-a-play in Sei personaggi...
B. Discuss Ungaretti's L'allegria as "lirica nuova".
C. Discuss Visconti's Ossessione as an anticipation of neorealism.
D. Compare and contrast Croce's idealism to Gramsci's marxism.

The first choices surprised me because I thought that Calvino wouldn't come up on this exam since I'm writing my special topic exam on him (tomorrow--ugh) and we just completed a class on Calvino. And Zeno is such a huge milestone on the list, I thought that it would at least be one of his other works. Needless to say, I was happy to choose option B, because I love Svevo and his malessere for all it is!

The second four choices honestly surprised me even more, because I couldn't believe that Pirandello's Sei personaggi actually came up. I mean, I'm thrilled it did because, well, it's awesome, well-known, and there's plenty to say about it. And Ossessione? Really? Again, plenty to say about it. So those were the two questions I answered, but not just because I had plenty to say, but when you look at the other two options, HELLO! Ungaretti? Poetry? My biggest fear--skip! Croce and Gramsci? The other part of my worst nightmare? Theory? No brainer! Skip!

If my professors are reading this blog, I promise I'm working really hard on finishing up my preparations for Prelim #2 this week, and I'm really looking forward to starting my dissertation even more. I'm pretty sure they aren't reading it, since I'm pretty sure that no one is. But still.

But for now, Thank you. Thank you for throwing all of us a bone.

17 August 2009

judgement day, part 1.

so this is it. the day i've been preparing for all summer, all winter, and all spring. not in that order, obviously. but still.

the exam is structured così:
6 ID questions, worth 1 hour. answer 4 of the 6 briefly but pertinently.
2 pairs of long-answer questions, 1 hour each. answer 1 of 2 for each pair.
1 hour of revising. which can at times also be used to fill in the gaps where they were before.

i should be done with this first exam in about 4 hours, tops. well, i have to be done in 4 hours. 



this is my mantra.

15 August 2009

it's going to be a long one.

day, that is.

i'm less than 48 hours from starting the exam portion of my summer, and i couldn't feel more conflicted. I mean, i've been preparing for this all summer (okay, it's actually been a lot longer than that) and i feel relatively prepared. looking over past questions, i feel like i can answer most of them.

but there are some things on the reading list that i just can't answer to. please cross your fingers that i'm not given a choice between answering on le mosche del capitale and la chimera. because then i would cry. luckily, if that does happen, i have a room to myself for the exam, so no one else will have to witness the breakdown.

13 August 2009

outside the gate.

Okay, so I'm moving back to the west coast after five years of grad school in about four months, because I'm going to be a dissertator and I don't have a job guarantee and my soon-to-be-husband already has a job lined up (because accounting is something that happens regardless of the state of the economy and the enrollment of students in foreign language classes) and, well, I can write a dissertation from anywhere. Especially somewhere that below zero sounds like a make-believe temperature, right?

Except I'm really nervous. It's not a new place to live. I grew up in the same area where we'll be living, so it's not a matter of feeling out of place physically; maybe I would prefer that, though, because I felt out of place when I experienced my first real winter and realized I didn't actually know what a coat was. But there was an easy enough solution for that -- buy a coat where the weather is cold, because they'll sell something much more weather-ready.

So it's not that.  It's just that, well, I've been in academia for a while and I'm nervous that I will feel completely out of my element, without people to make erudite academic jokes and to discuss research or dissertation woes...am I being ridiculous? I've got loads of time to worry about this, and I should be worrying about the 125 item list looming in the ever-nearing future.


So, I really like reading, and if I could par-lay that into a full time (or part-time, let's not kid ourselves, I'm not going to be picky) job that would be amazing.  I'm worried, of course, that my reading is too analytical, and that I don't leave my academia at the door quite as much as I need to. Which is good, for the academic world, but not so good for the nonacademic one.

4 Days to go!

Well, technically, I won't be completely done with the exam process for two weeks, assuming everything goes well. I'm in the process of typing up my notes and, to be perfectly honest, it's probably better I haven't been posting them to the blog since they would most likely make little to no sense to anyone, since they are not in one consistent language, complete sentences or even complete thoughts, some of the time.  However, I am GOING to weigh in on at least the personal highlights of the reading list for me, and I'm going to do it soon! Like, tonight, when I've typed up notes for at least 1/3 of the things on my list, but hopefully 1/2.

01 August 2009

T minus 16 days.

So I'm 16 days from the first of two written exams, and I've got plenty more than 16 things to read, plus I'm taking two graphics classes and have other non-academic commitments. But it's okay. I'm going to get through this. With a little help from coffee (which I hadn't been drinking at all this summer).

I'm getting closer to the end of the list, but there are other lists and other things to read right around the corner.

and no one reads this, anyway, right?