I woke up in a panic today.
I have two weeks left to write my two final papers.
Normally this wouldn't freak me out so much. Why is it now?
One of the papers is a personal, journal-type project about my experience volunteering at a ESL high school. I have learned so much there. But I feel like I have just begun. I can't put it into a paper form. The lessons that I have experienced there have no order. I can't make a project out of life.
In this journal-paper I am defining things like "literacy" and "racism" in new ways that pertain to reality. Not dictionary definitions. Real life experience. This wouldn't be so hard if I didn't feel the need to redefine every word that I am using in the rest of the assignment. I am realizing just how little the English language can do to describe life. I am not some great poet. I am not a novelist, or a journalist. I am just a girl. I don't know how to transfer this information that has been seeping into my brain and heart for the last few months to a computer screen.
My second paper that is due is what is really freaking me out though. I did what I always do when I am interested in a topic... I completely immerse myself in a wealth of information until I totally lose my original thought. I have pages upon pages of notes. I have spent hours in the annex, the very basement, of the library literally digging through old books, journals, and newspapers from over 100years ago. I have searched in online databases, using any and every keyword phrase that I can think of. What was my topic again?
Oh yes, the transformation of the Gothic novel in the aspect of Gothic architecture. Now, am I focusing on the society's view (at the time) of Gothic architecture, or the use of Gothic architecture (castles mainly) within Gothic Literature? Is it sufficient to only use two novels? No, but I only have 15 pages to work with here. Maybe I need to get even more specific... It could be a strait up comparison of Dracula and The Castle of Otranto. That is something that an undergrad can get away with, right?
What I seem to fail to realize is that that is what I am. An UNDERgrad. I am not going for my masters or doctorate. I guess it is hard for me to think that way when half my class (and it just so happens, the half that I talk to) are grad students. Their craziness rubs off on me.
I even have another class where I am mostly surrounded by grad students, and guess what? They just happen to be studying Victorian literature, which is the basis of my paper, and they like to ask me lots and lots of questions about it! It actually has been quite helpful to have them... I was the only undergrad in my class who knew where to look for specifically Victorian era criticisms and articles thanks to my grad friends.
But I just don't know what to do now.
It seems like my mind has just completely shut down and is refusing to do anymore work.
I think I am going to write about the architecture presented within the novels... and maybe tie in why the Gothic architecture is an important facet to the Gothic novel (besides the fact that they have the same name).