Friday, November 28, 2014

Reflections On My Studies & Graduating University

Dear friends,

It has come to my attention that although I mention them often, I have never actually given a full description of my studies or scholarly work.

As many of you know I am a full time university student (as well as artist, psychic, and weekend administrative assistant).  I am graduating in the spring with my BA in History and will likely be pursuing graduate studies in the next couple of years.

In my final year of high school I was torn between staying home, or leaving and attending one of the most prestigious schools in the country; the University of Toronto.

I had been accepted to the Celtic Studies program in Toronto, a field that is truly perfect for me.  Through it all, however, I felt an undying need to stay home.  Be with my family.  Enjoy my personal space.  Nurture this life in the North.

Truthfully I can't imagine who I would be or what my life would have become if I'd left home to go to the big city.  I wouldn't have this blog, my shop, my beautiful friends, my absolutely-perfect-for-me partner.

It just reminds me that life is about choices, and there are no wrong or right ones.  Just choices that lead us down different, and equally advantageous rabbit holes.



Throughout my 4 years of university I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing scholars and take some absolutely fascinating courses.

My history studies have influenced my life more than I ever thought possible.  It is difficult not to assume now that everyone knows the history behind their country, their government, their culture, their religion, even though this is absolutely not the case.

I truly encourage people to study the history of the things that feature most prominently in their lives.  I believe it is very important to understand where you come from, and how you can avoid repeating history in the future.


This term I have been studying the history of the occult in the West.  While I have been able to use my background in European ceremonial magic, Spiritualism, and witchcraft to my advantage; most importantly I have been able to learn the history behind much of what I practice or study.  

I have also been able to work in-depth with an incredible scholar who specializes in Fascist Italy, and totalitarian regimes in the early 20th century.  I have been able to learn so much about history, politics, scholarly writing; and overall life from this one incredible professor who I have been lucky to take 7 courses with.

I am currently writing a thesis on the Catholic Women's League at my local church for my 4th year Canadian Social History class.  I will soon be interviewing women who have been involved in the Church for decades, and hopefully - if my grandparents have enough sway - will be able to look through church records to get information on the league membership since the 1940's when the church was built.


While many young people are disinterested in Canadian history, I find it to be a truly fascinating subject and I am thrilled to have been able to work with so many wonderful leading Canadian historians in my time at university.  I am a Canadian history buff, and absolutely love this country and learning about its past.  

Canadian Social History continues to be a growing field and there is always a fascinating story to uncover or write about.  It's bounds are limitless and that is one reason I have come to enjoy writing in the field.

Two of my favourite sub-fields in social history are women's history and First Nations' history.  I am incredibly passionate about both of those subjects and I feel that both fields of scholarly work have aeons to go before than will have even slightly the same amount of material written about them as the grand narrative of Canadian history does.


For the majority of my first year I was not sure if I wanted to pursue religion, or history.
In all of the confusion I ended up taking many courses from each discipline.

Two religion courses that I remember fondly are a course on Apocryphal Gospels, and a course on the Paranormal.

The course on the secret gospels was utterly fascinating to me.  I don't believe very many people know all that much about the history of many religions, including Christianity.  It was very interesting to see which gospels were included in the final version of the Bible, and which ones were left out.  Not to mention how different Christianity would be if they had been included!

I loved the course I took on the paranormal a couple of years back.  It discussed ghosts, psychic phenomena, paranormal religious movements, and aliens.  All in a very scientific way of course ;)


Surprisingly, one of the courses that has had the most impact on me has been Astronomy.  I took astronomy as a science requirement; and while I didn't do amazingly in the course (a 'B') I have not been impacted by many professors the way I was by my astronomy professor.  A white haired man in his 80's, sharp as a tack, one of the most passionate physicists on earth; and one of the most knowledgeable people in his field.

Taking astronomy in a real planetarium, and having the opportunity to see shows where we looked up and the room went dark and stars filled the sky was an incredible experience.  Not to mention all of the information I learned that helped to make the world make a little bit more sense to a very unscientifically minded girl.


This year has been one of my most incredible years at university.  I have felt just like Hermione Granger.  I am on the ball, I know my stuff through and through.  I am loving my courses, my books, my writings, my professors, my peers.  It is bittersweet to graduate so soon, just when I finally feel like I have it all together.

These four years have been a time of learning and growth unlike anything I've ever experienced.  I feel I have become an adult since September 2011, when I walked through those doors with severe anxiety and panicking that I couldn't find a parking spot (still an unresolved issue lol).  Coincidentally you have all been along with me the entire time.  I started this blog October 2011.

What is next for me is somewhat unknown.  The ultimate goal is to be a librarian at the university.  Of course I wouldn't mind becoming a school or local librarian either.  I feel this career path fits me like a glove.  I may potentially have to pursue a Master's in Library Sciences, but who knows what opportunities will come my way in the spring when I graduate.

I'd like to thank Rachel at Titania's Tea Party for requesting this post.  I think it ended up being a lot longer than I originally intended, but it was therapeutic in a way.

Many blessings,
Jennifer

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cotton Candy Clouds, Woodland Creatures & Treasures in the Mail

Hello friends,

I have returned from my post-Halloween candy coma and brief blogging hiatus.  

Snow has fallen in the Northern Woods and I am preparing for Yule and the yearly hibernation that involves lots of delicious food, cozy knitted blankets and reading.


I picked up these little sweeties the other day.  Don't they look so cozy in their sweaters?


I love Winter.  I think it is my favourite season, though I appreciate and love them all.  I know many of you are just getting slightly Autumnal weather now, so I'm not sure how you'll feel about all my snowiness up here in the North.


I was blessed to win three giveaways during the Halloween blog party season.  This 13th Hour Clock from Laura at Artfully Musing.


This beautiful print is from Heather at Audrey Eclectic.



And this lovely book from Debi at Puddleduck Grange.  Thank you so much much, all of you, I love my treasures!


I also got a little bit of A Fanciful Twist sparkly wee ghostie love when I snatched up this beautiful Pink Pumpkincakes Ghostie and her lovely pumpkin.


I've been frolicking in the woods before the snow gets to high.  This little fairy loves the cold!


And I got to spend time with a new friend.  This little baby was fostered by my aunt for a week before being adopted, named Monty, and welcomed into his new home.  What a week little Monty had!


I hope everyone is having an absolutely beautiful November.

I will return soon with a highly requested post ;)

Love and blessings,
Jenn