Friday, December 21, 2012

Done!

I'm glad to report that I am now officially done with my first semester as a Ph.D. student here at Emory University. After a mountain of final folders to grade along with dozens of blue books, as well as two and a half research papers (I say half, because the third class is more of a quick survey type paper than a full-on research paper), I am now ready to begin my winter vacation. Quick thoughts about the program thus far:

1. I love my professors. They are all very knowledgeable in their respective fields of expertise and I have learned so much already from each of them. This semester I had the pleasure of learning under Carl Holladay, Walter Wilson, and Bill Gilders, and while they all have different styles in terms of how to lead a seminar, I thoroughly enjoyed learning from all three of them.
2. I love my classmates. I think one of our program's major strengths is the personality of the students; from my fellow first-year students all the way to fifth-years that I've interacted with thus far, all of them have been quick to lend a helping hand or provide much needed words of encouragement or advice throughout this semester. I don't know if this was an intentional move by the adcoms or not, but the overall "friendliness" of our program from top to bottom cannot be understated. The big plus about this is that, all of them are very sharp students, so I really think we have the best of both worlds: excellent students but also excellent people. 
3. Atlanta is great. Yes, it's a metro-area, so along with that comes crime, traffic, higher living costs, etc., but overall, it's so much better than Durham, NC which sometimes had a "backwoods"-type feel. Don't get me wrong, there are great people in Durham, but we also came across a good number of people whose kind I'd rather never meet again.

Overall, I think I did ok in terms of how to properly manage time and resources as a first-year PhD student thus far. I definitely think I could have done better to form my research topic earlier in the semester, but my professors were all gracious and helped to solidify my angles for each of the topics at hand. Also, I'd like to plan ahead next time and attend SBL next year as we have funding for that. Hopefully I can reconnect with some of my Duke professors and get to hear some good papers and maybe meet some new people. I'm excited to see what the next semester holds, but for now, I have to prepare for the Greek exam and am looking forward to this winter break which comes at a much needed time.

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