Summer in St. Louis

Summer surprised me this year, moving more quickly than I expected. At least in some ways. When summer comes, I often think back to my first summer as a grad student, the months between finishing Year 1 and beginning Year 2. That year, summer seemed endless. running as it did between early May (when I turned in my final papers) and late August (when school resumed). In the years since, it’s never moved quite as slowly, but this summer’s moved faster than many.

Today is the first day of the final week of my summer course. I’ve enjoyed the flexibility I’ve had in teaching this course: I’ve been able to revise my approach more than once to try to better meet student needs (and interests), and this week is no exception. This week, lectures are out in lieu of more discussion. Between now and Thursday, students will each bring an article they’ve sourced on the topic we’re covering (End of the Cold War, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, US involvement in Libya). They’ll also do a “mini-presentation” on the article, and when that’s all done we’ll discuss the assigned reading as usual. I’m optimistic that this will be a good final week.

Beyond the course, I’ve caught three shows at the Muny, St. Louis’s professional amphitheater (largest amphitheater in the country). There was a fun production of Legally Blonde: The Musical; Kiss Me, Kate; and Disney’s The Little Mermaid (where we encountered one of the worst audiences ever, even taking into account that there were far more children there than usual). The summer heat may be unbearable here in the ‘Lou, but there’s nothing like the Muny.

And of course, it wouldn’t be summer if I weren’t making my way through some television series or another. Usually it’s the annual Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon, but not this year. In its place, I’ve developed a Doctor Who addiction like nothing you’ve ever seen before. (This will probably culminate in a further addiction to Torchwood sooner rather than later.)

Finally, harking back to my pre-grad-student life, I’m back on the fiction-reading bandwagon. Before I start book three of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, I’m working through a few random things that are thankfully much shorter than the 1,000+ pages of the third in Martin’s series.

Summers in grad school were always interesting. I mean, how can you top research trips to the east coast, three weeks at West Point, or marathon readings of history books? You really can’t, but this summer I’m delighted to be exactly where I am right now, doing a little bit of everything and nothing much of anything else.

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2 thoughts on “Summer in St. Louis

  1. Your course sounds as if it’s progressing wonderfully – a great opportunity for teacher and students.

    I’m glad you’re getting a chance to read fiction: I’ve gotten through a handful of good novels, too. I find that spending some time reading non-fiction outside of my specialty is also a great summer refresher. It gives me new ideas and perspectives in a broad way.

  2. I have a bunch of non-fictions to read, too. I’m just so glad to be reading for fun again. I’d gotten out of the habit while in grad school, but picked it up again slightly this past year. It’s a trend I want to continue.

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