feuervogel: (shiiiiiiiiiit!)
I got the syllabus for the literature seminar today.

I'm going to fail.

We have to read in their entirety 6 books, totalling 1660 pages, plus probably 500 more pages of excerpts and secondary literature. Here is the info from the syllabus:

Course Requirements
 Regular attendance
 Participation and careful preparation of all readings: Complete all of the readings on time
and come to class prepared, with questions, etc.
 Class presentations: Give a presentation on one primary text and author.
 Three response papers in German, the papers should be included a discussion of interesting
questions and present a first interpretation.
 Final research paper of 10-12 pages in English or German

Response papers 20%
Class presentations 10%
Class participation (attendance, preparation) 30%
Final paper 40%

I will get at best a B- in this class. Because I can't read 2000 pages for one class, and I can't convincingly bullshit my way through something I've read a third of (which is apparently a thing you learn to do as a literature major??? I studied chemistry, y'all). In literature seminar last semester, we had to write comments on the course discussion forum about the texts, just a few sentences minimum, and I struggled to get a paragraph, so SURE YEAH 3 response papers will be g r e a t. And I'll totally be able to participate in class.

I am going to leave that class in tears every fucking week it'll be great.

OH AND FUN TIMES??? I've gotten 2 of the books for the class and neither of them is the first 2 books we need to read (by Feb 2 and 9). The library may have them but not 7 copies of it (because I doubt I'm the only person who hasn't received their books yet).

So I can't even get started on the 400 pages I need to read by Feb 9 because the books aren't here yet. Y a A A a A a Y

Date: 2017-01-04 10:31 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] caulkhead
OK, which texts? I've still got most of mine from my degree umptysomething years ago, and there's a vague chance some of them might be the same.

Date: 2017-01-04 09:20 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] caulkhead
No, I'm sorry, don't have any of those... some of the authors, but different texts.

Best of luck with the course - I hope it's not as horrible as you are expecting.

Date: 2017-01-04 10:33 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] caulkhead
Gutenberg have got the Mauther, if you want to get a head start and the edition doesn't matter too much


Date: 2017-01-10 04:19 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] ratcreature
ratcreature: Your devoted minion. (minion)
If you are still looking for the Walter Benjamin one, I have that as an ebook and could mail you a copy? It's not long either, just 31000 words.

Date: 2017-01-04 02:59 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] eirias
eirias: (Default)
Do you have a mentor you can ask for tips on learning how to read grad-level texts quickly? I'm sure you're right that some of your peers with humanities backgrounds have already developed this skill, but probably the instructor's hoping that all of you will leave the class with it. (Or a competent graduate instructor would. I'm well aware that lots of professors aren't, and are happy with a sink-or-swim approach to grad ed.)

I don't have the skill either. I will say that I've learned how to read scientific papers in a way, in the sense that I know that after I read ten or fifteen in a narrow topic, the remainder come very quickly because I already know what literature the others are referencing. I assume that this dynamic is in play in the humanities too, but unfortunately the web of references is to texts that are much longer than the 10-15 pages you get for most psych experiments. :/

Date: 2017-01-04 03:28 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] eirias
eirias: (Default)
Oh yeah, I wasn't going to suggest complaining - that's never received well. I was suggesting sucking up, frankly, mixed with a genuine request for advice. "My background is in chemistry, and I don't have a lot of practice reading such long texts in such a short timeframe. Can you offer some tips? How did you learn when you were just starting out?" This is one part genuine advice-seeking and one part buying yourself time to learn through flattery. I guarantee you if you make them feel smarter than a scientist, they'll love you for that, and some of them may be more willing to cut you some slack.

I found this strategy absolutely essential when switching fields myself: I had to eat a lot of crow during my masters program because my math background was frankly a hell of a lot weaker than that of my classmates, most of whom majored in math or statistics in undergrad, and many of whom were PhD students who actually came in with MS degrees (so I was competing grade-wise with people who already knew everything that was being taught, essentially). The only thing that got me through it was being humble and asking for a lot of help -- remedial reading recs from the department chair, frequent visits to office hours, etc. I even got a ten-years-younger-than-me tutor. I got a couple of ABs (A-/B+ essentially; UW grades are weird) in courses where I was not sure I'd even earned a B (required to pass), and I think the fact that they knew just how hard I was trying earned me the benefit of the doubt. Another colleague who also came in with a psych PhD struggled just as I did, but couldn't swallow her pride, and she wound up leaving the program.

My 0.02 euros, anyway. Best of luck -- this is inherently hard and there's nothing wrong with you if you spend most of the semester swearing. Truly.


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