For the first time in my life (and possibly the first time in recorded history), I felt like this was a really long summer. It was good overall, since I got to continue my work at the Friends Historical Library, which is one of my favorite places in the world, spend time with friends both Swattie and non-Swattie, reconnect with my family, read dozens of books for the first time since I was a little kid, and have some much needed time ALONE. Now, it may be true that I walk the line between introvert and raging-narcissist, but I really enjoyed living, eating, working, and just generally hanging out mostly by myself over the summer. The solitude did probably contribute to my feeling that the summer went slowly, though.
So I’m glad to be back, even though I barely left. Nerd that I am, I really missed being in class, and I’m absolutely loving the courses I’m registered for. The Power of Words is a new Soc/Anth class that the professor (who’s also new) described as being an introduction to linguistic anthropology. It seems like it’s going to focus on how language is spread through colonization, what happens when one language in a society is perceived as better or more prestigious than another, and how people who speak multiple languages switch between them. Philosophy of Religion is something I’m really interested in, since half my life seems to revolve around Catholicism in one way or another. The professor is really friendly and funny, enough that I found it noticeable even here, among a lot of accessible and entertaining professors. Also, the syllabus shows that there’s not going to be a whole lot of reading, which is a nice break from most of my other classes. Language, Culture, and Society is a sociolinguistics class, which is somewhat similar to the Power of Words. But where linguistic anthropology, like in PoW, focuses more on who the speakers of a language are and how they behave, sociolinguistics has more to do with how the language itself changes from speaker to speaker, in place to place. Exemplary Studies is the Soc/Anth class that aims to give a broad overview of both Sociology and Anthropology, which is really exciting for me since I used to have one of the two professors as an adviser, and hopefully the class will help me focus better on the differences between the two fields. Finally, I’m taking a half credit directed reading class in Hebrew, where we’re going to be reading the story of Jacob and Esau. I love Hebrew and the professor I have for that course, and I’m really looking forward to honing my Hebrew skills, which after a summer of atrophy, badly need honing.
I’m glad to be back in Parrish again, too, in a lovely and surprisingly spacious room with Miriam, my roommate from last year. Being able to live with my friends again is a good alternative to the nearly-monastic way I spent the majority of my summer, though I’m already really missing Hannah, who’s spending this semester abroad. With the end of my Swarthmore career starting to seem like a reality, I’m trying to make the most of the opportunity to live with all these incredibly bright and generally wonderful people–– I can’t imagine how hard it will be not to see them all the time after we graduate.
For now, I’m just trying to adjust to life as a third year, and not worry too much about the future. That’s easier said than done, of course, but I want to get my feet underneath me before I start thinking too far ahead.