Unfinished Business II

So, here is a revised version of my summative eval. I know I need help with ending it, I have written for a few hours now and I’ve hit the wall and need a break. And I know I will have to make some cuts and tighten things up. It is approximately two pages now and it can’t be longer than two pages when I turn it in. But I have to keep in mind that the Evergreen stationary I have to print it on has headers and footers that take up a bit of space. Anyway, here it is.

I came to Evergreen with three goals in mind. I want to improve my knowledge in Economics, History and Spanish. I always enjoyed studying history, I had five years of Spanish from high school and I had recently become captivated by economics when I enrolled. While pursuing these goals I found a fourth goal I wanted to achieve. I realized that I was a much better writer than I had previously thought and I actively sought out ways to improve my writing skills.

Economics was the primary goal for the first two years of my Evergreen career. I had a very rudimentary knowledge of economics before I arrived and enrolled in a program that had a novice level economics aspect. In Looking Backward I built the foundation of my study of economics. The next program I took was a dedicated economics program and it was in that program that I believe I expanded my knowledge the most. It was in Understanding the Economic Crisis that I had my first experience of working and writing in a group since high school. I strove to tie together my study of history into this program by writing on the historical background of the regions that the group projects were focused on. It was also in this program that I learned that many people, politicians especially, have a fundamental misunderstanding of economics. And that pursuing a career as an economist may be a thankless career.

The next full economics program I was in was Alternatives to Capitalism the spring of my Junior year. I do not believe I did as well as I could have in this program. I came in to the program with my mind too closed to new ideas, but nonetheless I did learn a great deal. I found that my knowledge of alternative economic systems was limited or incorrect. For example I found that my idea of what anarchism is was wrong. It is not the chaotic and unrealistic system I imagined. Rather it was something I actually agree with in many ways. A system in which no one gives orders to others and things are done because they are necessary and for the good of all. I did see a flaw in this system in that in anarchism you are free to choose to obey. Officially there is no system of punishment for not following the implied rules. But unofficially you are punished in other ways. In the end, this program proved to be the most trying economics program I was in but I learned a great deal. Better to explore and study alternatives than to simply write them off.

I tried to include economics in all my programs. In Stalin: Legacy of Stone, Steel and Blood for my final project I examined Stalin’s economic policies and their effects on the Soviet Union. It was not my best work. I had a better time in my next program, The Spanish Speaking World. For my research project in the second quarter of the program I examined the economic policies of the dictatorships in Chile and Argentina. During this project I found that is hard to define what economic success means. What happened in Chile resulted in economic success according to some, yet others see only a failure or a success whose cost is too high. It is hard to separate the worlds of economics and politics. I believe the best example of my synthesizing economics into a non-economics program was in my last program at Evergreen, an Intermediate Spanish class. I decided that I was going to write for my research paper, which was done entirely in Spanish, an analysis of the then current Chilean student protests. My first attempt did not work, I attempted to shoehorn in a thesis that did not fit. My second attempt did work and I was able to analyze the economic origins and possible effects of the protests on Chile.

My second goal of history was always on my mind. I tended to always pick programs that had a history focus whenever an economics program was not available. My first program was Looking Backward, which was focused on the United States from approximately 1880 to now. I had knowledge of most of the major events of this period however this program included the social and literary history of the US, which I had only limited knowledge of. It was from this program that I learned the most about the US and I realized that many Americans do not know their own history and that lack of awareness leads to a lot of misunderstanding about how the US is perceived. Oddly I learned quite a bit about the Soviet Union in this program. The last quarter was dedicated almost exclusively to the Cold War, so we studied our nation’s rival. This knowledge would play a role in my next history-centric program, Stalin: Legacy in Stone, Steel and Blood. I found the study of the Soviet Union, especially the Stalin era, rather enjoyable as odd as that sounds. The Soviet people allowed a truly evil man to rule them for decades and created a system that is truly evil and has a new reality unto itself. It was an strange experience.

My last two programs that focused on history were Re-Interpreting Liberation and The Victorian World. I had a general knowledge of both programs’ focuses, the Third World and Victorian Britain respectively. I was actually able to incorporate what I had learned in Re-Interpreting Liberation in The Victorian World. A concept I explored in former was the idea of a colonial wound. I was explored it further in the latter by arguing that the colonial wound goes both ways, on the colonized and the colonizers. I found this to be one of the best papers I have written and it really succeeded in combining two disparate programs together.

The Spanish Speaking World was the program that combined all four of my goals and the program I believe was my favorite throughout all four years. I studying the history and literature of Spain and Latin America from the fall of the Roman Empire to the modern day. I studying the Spanish language in class and all lectures were given in Spanish to practice further. And I wrote constantly about numerous topics throughout the two quarters. It was in this program that I sought to improve my writing the most. I had realized that I wanted to pursue this goal in Understanding the Economic Crisis.

My goal of writing came about towards the end of my Sophomore year. I found that my writings elicited praise from my faculty and fellow students and I decided to actively pursue ways to improve my writing skills. I found that I did not like working with a group on a writing project but I need peer review to truly do my best.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.