Chapter 9: Camp Rhetoric and Spring Break in Ripon
[Editor’s Note: Jeremy Johnson ’12 and Katlyn Lee ’12 are writing monthly entries for the Ripon College Newsletter chronicling their own post-graduation experiences. We hope you enjoy their perspectives on Life After Ripon!]
It’s interesting to type this blog from a comfy seat in The Pub at Ripon College. This week is spring break for Penn State, so I decided to journey back to Wisconsin so I can see the many friends I still have here, both in Ripon and elsewhere. Meanwhile, here in Ripon it’s the week before spring break. I know, most people travel south for spring break instead of north. Still, it just seemed right that I travel here. Wisconsin still feels like home, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with going home for a while.
February was an interesting month for me. It started kind of slowly as I settled into my classes, which I continue to enjoy a lot. This semester tends to be a little heavier than last semester in terms of reading, plus the writing demands this semester are much higher. As a result, I’m probably a little busier at the moment. I do, however, enjoy the reading and writing I’m doing this semester more than last semester, so the burden doesn’t seem too bad at all.
Camp Rhetoric eventually rolled around to make things interesting for a while. It’s essentially an academic conference, but with a much more cordial and informal atmosphere. The event is more about learning and collaboration than it is about showing off or networking, the latter of which seems to be the case at a lot of conferences. I still met a lot of great people, of course, so it’s not like networking didn’t happen. The purpose just seems to be better defined for Camp Rhetoric as a place to improve our scholarly endeavors by working together.
Professor Steve Martin ’96 of Ripon College came out for the weekend of Camp Rhetoric. He presented on a panel for Cesar Chavez, which apparently went swimmingly. Sadly, I wasn’t able to make it because I was in a seminar at the time. Steve and I got to spend some time together, chatting about grad school and preparing for a presentation we would be making on Saturday at Camp Rhetoric. I also got to meet a few of the other people visiting for the Cesar Chavez event, for our weekly colloquium, and for Camp Rhetoric itself. I found it quite interesting chatting with those folks, all of whom are very successful professors in the field. I heard a lot of stories, most of which I can’t share here, but suffice it to say I learned a lot about the difficulties of being a grad student, being on the job market, and being a full-time professor.
As for the Camp Rhetoric presentation, I thought it was fantastic. Steve and I are working together on a paper that we’d eventually like to publish. I wrote a paper last semester that I planned to serve as a new case study to compare to a paper Steve wrote while he was in grad school at Penn State. We presented our preliminary thoughts on the paper and solicited feedback and ideas as to what we might be able to do. We got a surprisingly big crowd for our presentation and the audience offered excellent thoughts for us. I’m really looking forward to the next steps in the process. We hope to have the paper in good shape to send it out to a publication for review by about the end of the summer. From what we have so far, I’m very excited about what could become of the project.
The rest of February was something of a winding down period. Everything slowed back down and I set my sights on my trip to Ripon. Unfortunately, I had to replace my windshield because it got a significant crack in it and I didn’t want to chance anything as I drove from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin. I got that done and made my way out here, stopping in South Bend to visit Bryant Vande Kolk ’12 on the way. And now I’m here, enjoying the campus. The renovations to the commons are pretty remarkable and everything else looks great. I’m impressed by the work that’s being done here. Later this week I’ll travel to the district tournament with the forensics team—I’ll be judging there, which should be a fantastic opportunity. After that, it’s back to Pennsylvania. For now, I look forward to the rest of my time here.
Jeremy D. Johnson ’12