Blog Post 14: The Last One

This is supposed to be our reflective blog entry, the one to wrap up the semester. Finals start tomorrow, and the one I’m most worried about is the one for this class. It’s not because I didn’t do the reading, because I did. I just don’t feel prepared because I missed so many classes between my sudden bout of multiple migraines followed by a sinus infection. When the classes become individual case studies of different cultures taught by guest lecturers and then the topics are never revisited again, well, that’s just bad timing to be sick.  I’m just going to extra-study those topics, I suppose.

Looking back, I liked the diversity of content in this course.  The guest lectures were definitely my favorite, and significantly contributed to the interdisciplinary nature of this course. Even though we covered so many different topics and histories and traditions regarding fairy tales and folk tales, there were always common themes, which was interesting, and ties back to Jung’s Collective Unconscious idea.  Strange, considering the part of the class I enjoyed the least was anything and everything dealing with psychology and psychological criticism.

Something I didn’t like doing as I was doing but can appreciate now are these blog posts. Not only are they a great study tool, but they helped me explore my understanding of the topics of the week and develop my own ideas. Worth it.

I also enjoyed writing my final paper, as strange as that may sound. I loved my topic, I found it to be interesting, and I basically knew what I was going to say before I even started to attempt to say it. The challenge, though, was trying to not make it ridiculously long. I think part of where I failed in writing it was cutting out too many of my own ideas for the sake of brevity, when I should’ve been cutting out my quotes. I should know better- I work at the writing center, for goodness sake.

The parts of the class that were challenging…well, the pacing was sometimes a challenge for me, as there would sometimes be so much reading and then the material would shift in a totally different direction the next class and it would come along with its own list of required readings. While I like reading, I don’t think I managed to read as closely and critically as I should have because this semester I was learning a lot about time management. Mostly, learning from my mistakes, because I overcommitted myself in other areas besides coursework, and that made everything I did more challenging. It’s probably also why I got sick so frequently. And why I developed stress-induced migraines…

The psychological criticism was challenging, too. It was harder for me to understand, and therefore harder for me to apply. It still is, I guess, because I just don’t buy into it. It seems nonsensical to me, and I feel like a lot of what we read always ended with something like- that’s how I interpret it, but everyone can interpret it differently because everyone has different experiences. Or, in contrast, it would imply that everyone should interpret this the same way because we’re all inherently the same. I just don’t like psychology.

At the same time, I loved feminist approaches to analyzing the tales. I think I’ve grown as a feminist this semester, and before this semester, I didn’t even really realize that I was one. Or maybe I didn’t embrace it. I’m not sure. I suppose the downside to this is that I’m disenchanted with fairy tales, even though I can now appreciate them for their social, cultural, and historical significance.

The thing I’ll most remember from this course is what I have learned about other cultures, which is really important to me after my study abroad experience, and because part of McDaniel College’s mission is to develop global citizenship. I think this course helps facilitate that.  I know a lot more about Germany and Bangladesh and India and the other places we read stories from, and I even know more about African-American culture in my own country than I did before. This was a good way to meet my international nonwestern requirement.

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