Oh, but where are we going, friend? If you mean the end of term, then why yes, we are quite nearly there. Do you mean our adventures in digital history? Goodness, I hope not.
I started this term terrified of failure, scared to even dive into the world of data mining for fear of disappointing or embarrassing myself in front of my peers and instructor.
And quite frankly, I stayed there until about a week ago – paralyzed.
To be quite cheesy, now I stand, quite nearly on the other side of this adventure – and I can see the light. Was I challenged by this course? Goodness, yes. Did I make it approximately 20X more challenging and stressful for myself by managing my time horribly? YES.
The running themes of my exercise review were pretty well: “You’re going to make mistakes, it’s okay.” and “Good golly, this stuff takes a long time!”
Digital history takes time and patience. I’ve never really considered patience a strong suit of mine, but this was finally the thing that managed to give me some semblance of it.
Regardless of how ‘quick’ my journey was, I truly believe I came out of this course with a solid set of skills that will continue to serve me long after I’m done my undergrad.
What the heck have I gotten myself into?
I took HIST 3812A with Dr. Graham last semester; to say that I struggled with aspects of that course is an understatement. I went in with limited knowledge of all things technical, and had no idea how to use Minecraft – a key component of the final project. One of the biggest things that came out of 3812A for me was an increased knowledge of issues in games. (and not just in regards to history, though that was quite clearly the intent) See: Depression Quest and a non-geek’s guide to #Gamergate. (Fair warning, that last link is bound to be full of some very well informed opinions. /s)
Another key thing I learned in the course was how to use Twine. Even more importantly, I learned that most of my frustrations with Twine stemmed from my lack of knowledge with a variety of different programs and skills. My extremely limited repertoire of HTML knowledge frustrated me, as I had so many ideas for my midterm and other challenges that I was unable to carry out due to the combination of that and my persistent commitment to procrastinating to the point of panic.
Now that I’ve babbled on about that, back to the real question – what the heck am I doing here? If you asked anyone else, the answer would probably be “I have no idea, for a digital course, girl’s got nothing online.” I know, I know. It doesn’t look good. But ultimately, I came to the realization in the past six months that I wasn’t going to be happy graduating from Carleton with your textbook ‘I can research and write lengthy papers about obscure things most people don’t care about’ set of skills. No, while I still may end up graduating with a plain Jane BA; by challenging myself with these digital based courses, I’m building up a skill set that I hope will be valuable in the future.
So that’s me. A little all over the place, but I have hopes that I can turn this boat around. For reading through all that, have a kitten:
Well, this is it. I’ve finally hunkered down and vowed to kick myself into gear. Many regrets on delaying this so much, but that can’t be fixed at this point. The only thing to do is pull my socks up and get back on track.
Welcome to the show.