Spring semester has now passed the two week mark, and I'm cautiously optimistic that I will not actively loathe any of my classes (cough, Prehistoric Greek Art, cough) and may actually enjoy a few, which would be a nice change of pace. I have, however, been exceedingly grumpy about Greek and Latin, since I somehow forgot that the beginning of the semester is the most challenging and time consuming in language classes due to a combination of forgetting things over break and adjusting to new authors with different writing styles and vocabularies. For example: our first Greek assignment, the first 20 lines of the Iliad, probably took me about three hours. Today's assignment of 30+ lines took less than two hours. And while assignments may get marginally larger (perhaps 40-50 lines), I'll keep getting faster and will likely be able to get it done in about an hour. (The same holds for Livy.) The trouble is, I always remember the end of the previous semester, in which I blaze quickly through the readings, and it's obnoxious when things take longer than I think they should.
I also tend to get grumpier about languages taking up a lot of time when I feel like I have better, more productive things to be doing with said time. (This goes back to my long-standing resentment of having to learn languages at all. I will never ever be as good at Latin or Greek as other people around me. In the future, the most I'll have to do is read an inscription or quickly check a translation; anything more substantial I could pawn off on those who enjoy it more.) So, me struggling to read the Iliad accomplishes nil in the grand scheme of the world. I'm not going to get anything more from it than the zillion other people who have read it before me. Working on my own research and projects feels so much more productive to me. I'm doing something new, something unique, something which adds to our accumulated knowledge rather than takes from or duplicates it. This feeling has been particularly acute in the last couple weeks, as I'm trying to finish the last draft of the beads paper and put together a talk for the Upper Midwest Bead Society.
There are a lot of parentheticals in this post. Clearly, I've been spending too much time reading Claire's blog.