The upcoming semester is the end of my graduate coursework. (Isn’t it weird to end in the fall semester? Yes, coursework in my program is supposed to take six semesters, but I started as a part-time student so it’s taking me seven.) Selecting classes is always a bit of a drag, because there’s always something you wanted to fit in but you couldn’t make it work, but it’s exciting too, because you’re looking forward to new beginnings. It’s also a bit of a tease — there are still six weeks left in the current semester, finals to write, etc. — but a little daydream is welcome, even if it’s only looking forward to taking other classes that are not the same classes you’re taking at the moment.
Selecting courses for the final semester in particular has a somewhat different feel to it because I have to fill in all the remaining gaps on my transcript. In my program, instead of having comprehensive exams, we have a long list of distributional coursework requirements: every doctoral student takes two semesters of phonology and one each of syntax, semantics, language acquisition, discourse, variation, historical linguistics, and computational linguistics. Sociolinguistics students also have to take a course in sociolinguistic field methods. I haven’t taken field methods and I only have one semester of phonology, so I have no options as far as that goes.
It’s a bit like Star Wars Episode 3 — you know what’s happened so far, and you know where it has to end, so this installment of the series is just filling in the blanks. (In this metaphor, taking Phonology II is like watching Anakin Skywalker become Darth Vader, I guess.)
So that’s two courses chosen, and I have to take three. The other side of having been in the program so long is that most of the courses I haven’t taken are not that interesting to me. (Syntax III? Advanced Language Testing? Not my thing.) There is a seminar being offered in language and social action, taught by the same professor who’s directing my research assistantship this semester and taking a similar functionalist approach. I signed up for that; it seems like a good way to round out the semester and include something that isn’t just a requirement.
So the “thing” I made for thing-a-day is I went to the registrar’s website and submitted my official preregistration.
Now I have to figure out my research/teaching assistantship assignment. That’s still TBD so I’ll save it for a future post.