I just walked out of my last tutorial of the summer, and it feels really bizarre. Happy, but bizarre.
We only met in this 2:1 setting four times, and as such, I don't feel like I've been in summer school at all. The majority of my hours have been spent hanging out in Oxford, in Stratford, in London, in Paris - really indulging myself in the culture. On the other hand, I know I've learned as much in the last five weeks than I would have in the same course at Clemson. Not only was I able to study a topic I truly enjoy, but I had infinite resources at my fingertips. My outlook on Austen's novels has completely shifted, from that of an optimistic romantic to a hardened historian.
Okay, that sounds bad. But it's true! And it's great. I've learned so much about her time period, about her critics and her life, that it's become impossible for me to take her books as simple love stories. They're about (particularly in Mansfield Park and Persuasion) suffering, the self-sacrifice that is ultimately rewarded - or, perhaps, not.
With my course basically finished (one full class on Thursday, to wrap things up), I'm ready to really enjoy Oxford as a tourist. This morning I finally made it to Christ Church (aka Harry Potter Extravaganza), and on Friday I'll probably be punting. Oh...and I still have the rest of my travel money to spend...