Student Blog

Student Blog

Spring Quarantine - I mean, Spring Quarter
Posted June 22, 2020

A few weeks before Spring break, my friends and I were sitting in the library talking about COVID-19, and while it was a light conversation, there was a sense that something was going to be irrevocably changed. How and to what degree, we couldn't have known. I packed up my things for Spring break, not realizing I would not be back on campus in any capacity this academic year. It was a bit of a jarring transition into a new quarter. 

I had taken online classes before, so with Spring Quarter fully online I figured it would be just like my prior experience. However, with study spaces and access to libraries restricted, staying focused was difficult for many students. Nevertheless, I was still able to access the robust online resources and databases provided by the Regenstein Library, and complete projects as well as my MA thesis from home - meeting with my workshop group and advisor via Zoom.

Despite the challenges of e-learning and being removed from the UChicago campus, my professors have made all the difference. The faculty have showed their commitment to students by adapting the classroom experience. They have adapted syllabi to account for both synchronous (live classtime) and asynchronous (online modules, independent work). They've shown an insurmountable amount of patience with deadlines and homework loads, continuing to craft lovely and fruitful class sessions through our screens. Ultimately, I am deeply appreciative to my professors and peers who took this situation in stride despite the uncertainty. 

Zahra is a current MAPH Two-Year Language Option student who will begin her second year in the program in Fall 2021. Zahra is a Higher Education Fellow in the Humanities Dean of Students office, and she holds a Bachelors degree from Northern Illinois University.

The Beginning

Posted June 8, 2020

Before beginning graduate school, one peripheral worry I had was meeting new people. Nonetheless, coming from a more rural undergraduate college environment to one much more national and international was exciting. MAPH is made up of a large cohort split into smaller groups. This structure allowed me to meet so many wonderful peers who had similar interests as well as divergent experiences; we were able to commend, challenge, and learn from each other which motivated me to continue wrangling with the difficult questions we were exploring in and outside of class. 

From reading Fanon, Marx, Hegel, Butler, and numerous others, I was able to engage with thinkers that inspire and continue to influence much social and academic work. Not all of this was easy, of course, but the very pursuit of these questions motivated my learning in ways I had not yet experienced. 

We made the most out of experiences outside the classroom through attending 3CT events (Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory), a collective started through interdisciplinary work in the humanities and social sciences as well as other talks offered on campus daily through The Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality and other organizations and departments. These pursuits were important to me personally, as a huge motivating factor for taking the plunge to pursue graduate school was to find a space in which I could explore these vital humanistic questions while adapting skills to better confront society's injustices and cases of disenfranchisement. I hope to continue this pursuit during the remainder of my time at the University and to follow my inquiries in whichever direction the research and advocacy leads me. 

Zahra is a current MAPH Two-Year Language Option student who will begin her second year in the program in Fall 2021. Zahra is a Higher Education Fellow in the Humanities Dean of Students office, and she holds a Bachelors degree from Northern Illinois University.