An Update On My Classes | Novels, “Watchmen,” Short Stories About Zombies, & More!

Hello! This is, as you can see, an update about my classes… I’d been meaning to write this post anyway, and then I looked back through my old posts and realized that my last class update was posted on October seventh, so this is PERFECT timing.

I think from now on I’ll try to post something like this about once a month or so – it may be less often sometimes, if I don’t have a lot to say, but anyway. YEAH. I neither need nor want to post updates about my classes any more often than once a month (although I’ll probably write frequent posts about college in general), but every so often it’s kind of fun to look at how my classes are progressing and what I’ve been learning.

City of Literature

Now that this semester is half over, we’ve transitioned to reading novels! We read a ton of short stories, poetry, and excerpts from novels during the first half of this course, which was fun… but also sometimes stressful! Like, sometimes I didn’t do all the readings before class because I thought we’d been assigned, I don’t know, three poems instead of four. I always made sure to go back and read anything I’d missed after class, but… yeah. And reading novels means that there will be fewer authors and stories to remember for the next midterm, which is awesome!

Also, MY PROF MAKES ME LAUGH LIKE AT LEAST ONCE IN EVERY CLASS SESSION. He says stuff like “W.P Kinsella fetishizes Iowa!” and “People from outside the United States know about Iowa from two movies – Field of Dreams and Star Trek.”

(The “future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk” is in Riverside, IA, which Google Maps says is a half-hour drive away… I sense a road trip happening sometime soon!)

Creative Writing

I SUBMITTED THE FIRST DRAFT OF MY MAJOR PROJECT – A SHORT STORY – LAST MONDAY. OMG. I was soooo nervous about this, and I’m glad that part of it is over.  My prof expects major revisions on everyone’s short stories, but after turning in this version I already feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. Out of all of my projects for all of my classes this semester, this first draft was by far the most stress-inducing and daunting!

…of course, I know I’ll start stressing out all over again this Sunday night because my story will be discussed and critiqued in workshop next Monday, but… meh. I’ll deal with that when it comes. In the meantime, I’m trying to avoid thinking about it.

P.S. Originally I was going to write about a necromancer and her alchemist girlfriend reanimating the dead, but I couldn’t decide how I wanted magic to work in their world, so I ended up scrapping that idea! I still want to write about it someday, but I didn’t have time to sit around trying to make up my mind, so I wrote about a zombie apocalypse instead. BECAUSE WHY NOT. I hope my classmates don’t think I went overboard with my descriptions?

Intro to Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies

It took a month for us to get our midterms handed back! Blehhhh. I’ve been MAJORLY STRESSED OUT about what my grade might be. (It was an A-, if you were wondering. I’d been hoping for a solid B, so this is awesome!)

On the bright side, though, my TA asked to use my definition of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique (and my analysis of why it is historically significant) when we looked over our test results in discussion section, because she thought my analysis was particularly strong! YAY.

Also, we’ve had a bunch of guest speakers lately, and recently a group of GWSS majors came in and talked about their senior year research projects. It was super fun to learn about even though that’s not my major (or minor). One girl talked about how she studied queer online fandoms for her project! EEEE THAT’S SO COOL.

My once-a-week discussion section is… oh my god. Where do I even begin?! Last week my group discussed the rituals surrounding gender and most of the girls (there’s only one guy in my group) were bemoaning how they wanted to ask a guy to prom but “couldn’t,” and I was just like, “…except you can? Straight people need to get over themselves and their weird little rituals about gender because this dithering over whether or not to ask someone out because of your/their gender literally would not happen with a girl/girl or guy/guy couple.”

…and then one of my friends from that class and I started talking about how awesome it would be if we could write our final paper on whatever we wanted. OMG I WOULD TOTALLY WRITE ABOUT THE RITUALS SURROUNDING HETEROSEXUALITY. Like how certain roles are acted out during dates, weddings, marriage, et cetera according to one’s gender, even when there’s no real reason that women can’t propose or that men should be praised more than women are for doing something traditionally considered “women’s work.” (Like cooking or staying home to take care of the kids.) Or how people are pressured to act heterosexual even though they’re not.

As someone who is on the outside of all that looking in, those rituals don’t make much sense to me, so it would be interesting to explore that in an essay. BUT NO. We have to analyze The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros… which was, admittedly, a good book, but I would rather write about other stuff.

Media History and Culture

I just took my second midterm for that class! The test was about the telegraph and telephone, radio, movies, and TV, since that’s what we’ve been studying lately…

And I got 100% on my “contextualization of a YouTube video” paper – I analyzed Carmilla season one episode one! Going to office hours and discussing my essay ideas with my prof really paid off! ((Especially seeing as how my previous essay for that class received a grade of 78%!) I met with him twice (and actually made a special appointment for one of those sessions because I couldn’t make it to office hours that week) because I wasn’t sure that I’d interpreted the assignment correctly, so I double-checked that all my ideas and supporting points made sense.

Also, one of the sources I cited was one he’d recommended I check out, so that probably helped… that, and the fact that my paper was 9 pages long. (It was supposed to be 800 words minimum, but I wrote almost 2500 because I got so into the assignment!)

Superheroes Unleashed:
3,000 Years of Heroes, Villains, and a Mad Race for Immortality

Currently, we are doing two things in this seminar: Reading Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons, and giving presentations about superheroes. I loooove Watchmen – I’d been meaning to read it anyway, especially after I read Moore’s AMAZING dystopian graphic novel V for Vendetta last year!


How has your life been?! If you’re still in school like me, what have you been learning about? IMPRESS ME WITH YOUR KNOWLEDGE BECAUSE LBR EVERYONE READING THIS BLOG IS A NERD. PROBABLY. AND I LOVE NERDS.


About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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13 Responses to An Update On My Classes | Novels, “Watchmen,” Short Stories About Zombies, & More!

  1. Cait @ Paper Fury says:

    OHhhh, you’re going to be discussed and critiqued IN CLASS??!?! THAT SOUNDS TERRIFYING. *frets anxiously on your behalf* And although I’m cryyyying because I think your necromancer idea sounds spectacular, I also love the apocalypse. So there is no downside here. xD I hope you get good feedback! 😀

  2. Miriam Joy says:

    Still can’t believe how different your college experiences are to mine, haha. Sad the alchemist/necromancer thing didn’t work out but hope you get a chance to write it some day. 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ehehe, anything specific? (And what is studying writing like in the UK? I know you’re not, but I didn’t know if you know anything about it anyway. Just curious.)

      Thanks! I just couldn’t quite decide how I wanted magic to function in my story, and I didn’t think I would be able to do justice to this idea in the limited amount of time I had left before the deadline. But I’d love to write it someday!

      • Miriam Joy says:

        I have no idea what it’s like to study writing here. Because we specialise right from the beginning instead of doing really general stuff and then choosing a major, I think it’s a bit less common, though some English courses involve a creative writing module. As far as I know, Cambridge doesn’t offer anything of the sort so yeah, I don’t know what it’s like.

    • nevillegirl says:

      OK, cool! 🙂 Thanks for answering.

      (Well, we do choose a major right away… but we often don’t start taking courses that count towards it until sophomore year or later. I was able to start in on some of mine right away, though.)

  3. Mom says:

    You’ll be absolutely FINE during the discussing and critiquing of your work. I took a “Professional Writing” class (gasp!–yes, the physics major had to write creatively!!) and it was enlightening how my writing was received. Really helped with the revisions.

  4. It weirds me out how you guys don’t have maximum word counts for projects! We have a word count that we can go 10% over or under and that’s it. Strange. BUT OMG THAT IDEA ABOUT THE RITUALS OF HETEROSEXUALITY SOUNDS AMAZING.

  5. Pingback: Final Thoughts On My Fall 2015 Classes | Musings From Neville's Navel

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