Public Texts, Part Two: Second Semester Begins

By Jessica Anne Carter

It’s the beginning of second semester, marks are coming in, and classes are starting up again.

Time to take a breath. Reflect on last semester. Pat ourselves on the back for all the things we’ve accomplished in the past four months. (Yay, us!)

Because let’s face it: Grad school is hard. There are so many readings your eyes start to hurt and your brain starts to fog. There are long essays and class presentations and the pressure to sound smart because everyone else is smart. Deadlines, teaching assistantships, and all the hardships of juggling school and life.

But the Public Texts program is also amazing. In the past semester, I’ve met so many great people and learned so many new things. Especially in our Colloquium course. We’ve used a printing press (twice!) thanks to local printmaker Jeff Macklin and the wonderful people at the Bibliography Room at Massey College. We visited the Petroglyphs at Petroglyphs National Park and heard the stories they depict interpreted by Lynn Gehl. We’ve learned about bookbinding, intaglio and woodcut illustrations, and just how complicated printmaking can be from local expert John Burbidge. We’ve visited the Fisher Rare Books Library and only glimpsed a minuscule fraction of the over 700 000 books they have. Michael Eamon gave a talk on the early print culture in Canada, and Lynn Gehl returned to speak to us about Wampum.

One important thing I learned last semester was to believe in myself; that I had interesting things to say, and people were interested in hearing them. It’s hard coming to a new city, a new school, and a higher level of education without feeling a bit lost. Imposter syndrome runs amok. But with such small class sizes and such wonderful people, it was easy to start feeling at home here at Trent. To feel like being myself was enough.

Let’s be real: Grad school is no walk in the park. It’s the sprint to the bus before it drives away, while you’re juggling all your stuff and trying not to slip on the ice. But there’s a wonderful joy in catching that bus, in accomplishing the hard things and learning that you can do more than you
ever thought you could.

That’s what makes it so special.

About dontpanictrent

DON'T PANIC: A Trent Graduate Student Blog

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