During my time doing independent research this semester, I have learned a great deal about just how challenging it is to conduct research on my own. At the same time, I think I have accomplished a lot in spite of the difficulties of adjusting to this new structure of learning and working.To begin with, the weekly blog posts have pushed me to examine the field of medieval studies, which can often seem rather distant and irrelevant, in a way that resonates with a modern audience of non-medievalists. As a result, I have learned a lot about the place of medieval studies in today’s society. For instance, when I compared the reign of Richard II to the Trump presidency in one of my previous blog posts, I found that I had gained a greater understanding of how medieval politics are both relevant to and remote from modern politics.
At the same time as I have been learning new things, I have been facing various challenges. The greatest of these is certainly staying on top of my timeline. When I first envisioned this project, I was far too ambitious about what I could accomplish and I failed to take into account just how much senior year would drain my time and energy. Consequently, I am not as far along as I would have hoped to be when I began planning my research. However, I am not too discouraged by this, as I have been able to adjust my timeline accordingly. Instead of producing an outline of my research paper at the end of the semester as was my initial goal, I will write up an annotated bibliography of the sources I have encountered thus far. Of course, I still plan on producing a full-length paper by the end of the year. In order to meet my new end of semester goal, I will need to dedicate some time over the upcoming fall and winter breaks to reviewing the books I have already read and reading new journal articles.
In addition to everything I have learned about Richard II and medieval history during the course of this project so far, I have also learned how to deal with the setbacks that inevitably pop up during a long-term project. Instead of beating myself up over my shortcomings in the past, I am trying to focus on the future and how I can make necessary adjustments. This is something I have definitely struggled to do in the past, and I am grateful that this project has pushed me to improve upon it.
Image from http://historyjk.blogspot.com/2012/09/people-in-history-medieval-monk.html