Ok, I know it’s a bit of a cop-out, but really how could I not spend a portion of this Encyclopedia of Meg series without discussing something that takes up the vast majority of my life these days.
Like many people, I didn’t really like history in high school. I didn’t hate and I did well in the classes, but I thought it was so boring. Memorizing names and dates of dead white men just didn’t appeal to me. Then I went to college. For those of you who don’t know, I attended Chapman University for my freshman year of college. In that year, I took two classes with Robert Slayton. His way of teaching history made me fall in love with the subject. I especially loved his course “Everyday Life in America” (which he still teaches, btw). For the first time, I saw the art, the excitement, and the meaning in history.
I transferred to CSUSM in 2000 and my love of history only grew more, largely in part to my adviser Jill Watts (and her blog). I really cannot sing her praises enough, she taught me so much not only about US history but about teaching, about school, and about creating and maintaining professional relationships. I also have to sing the praises about the History faculty at CSUSM in general. I received so much support there and learned so much, I am so thankful to have completed my undergraduate career there.
After a few years off, I returned to pursue a graduate degree and graduated from UCI. I found that to be one of the most difficult experiences, I put too much pressure on myself and ended up leaving with a Masters degree and no desire to return to academia.
And yet… here I am, in the 2nd year of my PhD program and in the midst of the largest budget cuts to the California higher education system… maybe I should have stuck it out at UCI … nah (I’m happy with my decision). So history, specifically of course US history, remains a huge portion of my life. I spend entirely too much time reading and prepping for seminar, section, and lecture. For those of you who care, I’m particularly interested in women and religion in 19th century US… but I’m still trying to figure out my next big research project. Oh! And I also manage an informal blog about history (and am always looking for contributors). So yes, history is a big part of my life.