Life after Ripon – Ariana Myers ’14
Chapter 3: In the Swing of Graduate School
[Editor’s Note: Ariana Myers ’14, Nathan Held ’14, and Sophia Kaounas ’14 are writing rotating monthly entries for the Ripon College Newsletter chronicling their post-graduation experiences. We hope you enjoy their perspectives on Life After Ripon!]
The second semester is in full swing. I rush to get the readings done for my graduate seminar classes while attending daily Arabic instruction as usual. At no other point in my life have I been forced to process so much information in so short a period of time, and the stress about getting it done has disguised, in the short term, just how much I really am learning. Last week I took the German and Latin departmental language exams for the second time; it remains to be seen how they will turn out, though I am more optimistic than last semester! Ideas for seminar research papers drift through my mind as I wade through my sixth required book for this week.
In the midst of all of this, I still manage to eke out some semblance of a social existence. It is a challenge, to be sure; my fellow graduate students (and, I must admit, my undergraduate friends as well) juggle equally daunting workloads. All the same, on more than one occasion this winter season we have gathered together to play board and card games in my apartment. If I must say so myself, I make a wonderful hostess. I also make an effort to spend some time in the History grad lounge each day, where we can take a tea or coffee break or descend upon the leftover foodstuffs from a departmental event. It is always pleasant to touch base with the other grad students and take our minds off of our to-do lists.
If all goes according to plan, this summer I will be taking an intensive intermediate Arabic course at the University of Pennsylvania. It will be several hours a day, 5 days a week—a grueling prospect if ever there was one. Hopefully, by the end of summer, I will emerge with some degree of proficiency! It is essential to my quest to study the history of the medieval Iberian Peninsula, especially al-Andalus, the Muslim realm that once spanned most of present-day Spain.
This June, my best friend since I was 7 will be getting married, and I am so excited to attend the ceremony. It is strange to be seeing so many people whom I have known since childhood getting engaged now, but I am so happy for all of them! At the same time, it is kind of bewildering. Life can be paradoxical like that.
If I have time over my spring break, I hope to return to Wisconsin for a bit to catch up with friends and family. Perhaps a visit to Ripon will be on the menu! Either way, things are coming along nicely. I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Ariana Myers ’14