I’ve been in Wolfville for a week now. It’s my second time living in the Annapolis Valley, you know — I was a toddler in Kentville for a brief time, way back in the early 90s. But I’ve spent my fair number of summertimes visiting here, so it’s not as unfamiliar as other places I’ve shipped off to school.
Before moving out here I wrote a little piece on Medium about my decision to go back to grad school one more time. In summation, I really just wanted to be able to expand my experiences both academically and in terms of student life. You regular readers know how important Classical Studies is to me, so is it a shock that I’m studying English now? If you know anything about Classical Reception, it shouldn’t be. I want to get all kinds of interdisciplinary up in here. Not to mention, where else am I going to be allowed to sit around navel-gazing about literary theory? Sure, less Latin in my reading this year, but the other elements are similar. Fear not, dear readers, you’ll still get lots of interesting Classics posts throughout the year on here.
But there are a lot of things different about Acadia University than the other ones I’ve attended (Guelph, Plymouth, Memorial). I’m seriously impressed with how tightly-run things are. I suppose in a small university like this, it is a much more manageable feat to get deadlines and paperwork all in order within a reasonable timeline. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many deadlines imposed on me — except in the UK, and I think there are a lot of similarities in terms of how Acadia and the British universities are run.
That is definitely not a bad thing. I refer to my time in my last Master’s degree as being a “free-range academic”: I was given all kinds of resources and support, but also a lot of freedom to do what I wanted with my projects and classes. There was a flexibility there that I definitely benefitted from, and it made that transition from undergraduate to post-graduate a lot warmer than it might have been otherwise. But after that experience I feel imminently equipped to handle the rigours of a more elaborate program. This new program is only one year, and I am sure I would be feeling much more nervous about the task if I did not have these experiences under my belt.
As a Classicist I see the sort of welcoming-but-austere academic atmosphere of Acadia fascinating. It is so evocative of sentiments from Greek philosophy, and strolling through this beautiful campus I’m enticed to hold all sorts of dusty academic conversations. Maybe this is just a symptom of being a graduate student. I can only wonder at how an undergrad feels approaching the same thing, but I suspect more than anything they are feeling a strong sense of community. It is so, so easy to get lost in a bigger school. I should know; I’ve done it over and over. Not once have I met with anyone on this campus that has not seemed attentive and engaging; the very idea of being treated like “just a number” is preposterous here. And that’s amazing to me. Like a relic of an old academic world, that this can still exist in 2015 is really something to behold.
You’ve all seen my great ability to ramble on about things I am excessively fond of on my blog. I’m going to hold myself back here just because you’re going to get a full year of my thoughts and observations on this university. I have been looking forward to this experience for several months, but it is only now that I’m actually beginning this journey that I realize how unique it is going to be, compared to my previous experiences.
I hope all you lovely readers are having a fantastic start to September. You’ve probably noticed I’ve been posting Student Film Fridays, sharing short films that I’ve been watching and loving. Music Mondays are coming slowly but surely, I’ve been trying to categorize my writing playlists into shorter sample platters for your enjoyment. I’ll be queueing some more up soon. And look forward to some new features on Classics that I have in the works…eventually they will resurface!