Taking Stock

March 11, 2007

So this is the part where I look back and reflect upon my work with theory, as well as look ahead to the future.

boat.jpg.

In the beginning of this class, I described my previous experience with criticism and theory as feeling like the boat was taking on more and more water every day.  Well the good news is, it doesn’t feel that way anymore.

In terms of the readings, it’s no secret that a lot of the stuff we read is a little difficult to grasp.  But there are times when I’m reading and I definitely feel like it’s sinking in and I’m understanding some of it.  But then there are other times when I’m reading and it just makes absolutely no sense.  And it’s at times like these when I get lazy and start to skim.  My logic being that I don’t understand it anyway so it doesn’t matter how close I read.  Smart thinking, huh?  But I’m getting away from that.  I am reading and often times re-reading in order to gain at least the slightest understanding of what I’m reading.  I have also begun to look in the Barry book (I was beginning to wonder why she made us buy that) and find that it can be helpful in trying to understand the often heavy language used by the theorists.

With writing, I think my blog posts are getting a little better than when first started.  (Although the post before this one is made up largely of references to old episodes of Seinfeld)  My beginning posts consisted of mainly “This is what I don’t understand.”  And while I may not be understanding everything, I am gradually understanding more and more and the blog posts are becoming a little more involved with at least an attempt to talk about the reading and make some sort of point.  And to this point, nobody has left a comment on one of my posts saying, “You’re an idiot, why would you write that?”  So I take that as a good sign.

The list says I should talk about conversation next.  I am fully aware that I won’t be getting the gold star for class participation.  Maybe something I should work on.  It’s just that when we get to class I really don’t feel like I have a strong enough grasp on a matter to comment speak intelligently on it.  That’s why I sort of sit back and let other people talk and try to pull an understanding out from what they say.  Or maybe it’s because I’m just shy, I don’t know.

My thoughts on group work will wrap this up.  I enjoy and feel I benefit greatly from getting into smaller groups and discussing.  Being in the smaller group kind of forces me into saying something so I have to formulate an idea and talking it out with the group and hearing what they have to say, whether it be similar or completely different, helps me come to an understanding.

I do feel that, though slowly but surely, I am improving in theory.  And this assignment has caused me to look at all the things I do for this class, and all the things I can do to get better.  Not getting lazy while reading and maybe participating a little more are good places to start.

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One Response to “Taking Stock”

  1. kmiddleton said

    You have no idea how relieved I am to hear that this theory go-round is better than the last one! Whew!

    You seem to go back and forth here, Ryan, between feeling like you’re getting a handle on things, and being worried that someone will discover that you don’t. That is a pretty accurate description of everyone in the class at one time or another (including me!). I’m glad to hear that the Barry is working for you–and there are worse things than using theory to explain Seinfeld!

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