At noon today I met Dr Rhiannon Purdie, my supervisor, and my classmate—yes, singular, there are only two of us—Sam, from Georgia. She put our modules in the computer and we now both exist and are “valid.” I have a better idea about my courses now and because there are only two of us, the staff are pretty flexible about how we’re going to do things. For instance, most of our courses are listed in the computer as being second semester courses despite our taking them first semester, so that we have more time to do our essays and don’t have to turn them in by December. We’re also allowed to audit any course the University has to offer, which is quite exciting. I’ll be sitting in on Dr Purdie’s undergraduate Arthurian Legend course this semester before deciding what my Special Topic module will be. For our Paleography course, we’ll be getting to work with real, actual manuscripts! She also said that by the time we’re done with Old English we would be able to teach it. And because both Sam and I expressed interest in learning Latin, she’s going to ask the Latin professor if we can join the class.
Yesterday the School of English held a symposium for the new postgraduates to orient ourselves to the School and gave tips and previews to what’s in store for us: research, writing, conferences, networking. That and the advising today, realizing I’ll be able to read an Anglo-Saxon manuscript from the Bodleian when this is all said and done, opened my eyes a bit more that I’m on the track to becoming a scholar, that in some ways I already am one, a “junior colleague”. It’s a heady rush of intimidation, excitement, and befuddlement. Nonetheless I’m eager to get my hands on a copy of the B-text of Piers Plowman and trudge my way through its Middle English (our first assignment for our bi-weekly course, which Dr Purdie said to get a start on now!).
Edit: Prof Maxwell-Stewart said that he was happy for Sam and I to join his class, so… I’ll be learning Latin—finally!!