Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Nazi Germany - Primary Source Analysis

Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm an academic through and through. By the time I'm 40, I want to have ~ BA, Hons, MA, Tch dip. ~ after my name (or however the initials are supposed to work) and I want to have at least started on my doctorate, if I can find suitable inspiration. But I'm never really sure if I'll prove good enough. I'm lucky to associate with a number of highly intelligent people and it's intimidating to sometimes wonder if you're on a par with them, especially when it's to do with something extremely important to yourself. *g* That and while it's easy to prove that you suck at something like Ten Pin Bowling, it's hard to pull out something like medieval translations or the greater intricacies of obscure 13 th century works. Anyway, it's been weird to spend a fair few months away and then jump into all Stage III papers. At the back of my mind there's a constant worry that I won't do as well at a higher level and that perhaps I'm not cut out for post-grad work after all (especially since I'm after far more than just a pass). It's been a relief in the last week to come to the realization that my Arthurian paper isn't just a Stage III paper but an Honours level paper as well. Now that the assignment has been handed out, the only thing separating the two streams is a mere 500 words to our assignment. Considering the new faculty imposed limits that's perhaps more of a blessing than a curse J
Then there's my history paper. Maartje declared at the start of semester that she's a very, very hard marker and that with our paper lacking an exam (i.e. everything is prepared well ahead of time) she would be expecting a high level of quality to our work. Last week she announced that we'd be getting our assignments back today and that she was extremely disappointed with the quality of work returned. Today in seminar she announced that she'd spent 40 minutes of the previous seminar ranting at them about how poor the assignments were. We had to suffer through the first hour of presentations before our version of the telling off began. I groaned internally when she announced that the majority of the class had chosen to write on the Law of German Blood and Honor and that she felt this was the most difficult document to choose. She had a number of comments to make on things she felt had been done poorly or ignored in relation to it, including linking it to the Holocaust (which I knew I'd done). Through all of this we still didn't have our assignments and had to rely on memory as to how relevant it might be to each of us individually. In addition, she'd written on the board each possible score and then how many people in our class of 80 had achieved each score. The highest mark allocated was an A and that to only 4. There were a lot in the C range and even 5 in the Ds. The rest of our paper is a 70% essay (worth 20% for the preliminary write up and 50% for the final essay) and this was designed to give us an early idea of if we were heading in the final direction. I swear I was quivering like a bunny on the inside by the time class finished. I got an A :).


Blogger The Transcriber said...

Thank you for your thoughts. They let me know university courses and the stresses associated with them haven't changed in the past 20 years.

Sounds like your projects mirrored many of my own. I translated a fragmented 13th century diary which the historical review panel determined held "no significant historical value" nearly 15 years after this work was complete.

On the positive side my studies paid off 22 years later after a 6 years long endeavor to publish the memoirs of a former Nazi officer... yep... more of the German Blood and Honor material you seem to have loathed. Be brave and be strong - (so they say!) - I hoped to be teaching history at this stage of my life but instead I'm writing about it. Go figure... Best of luck!

4:49 AM  

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