Creating a Holiday Syllabus

Let me clarify, this syllabus is for myself.

I tend to do this any time that I have some time off of whatever I consider myself doing “full time” at the time. For example one summer I challenged myself to read 5 books of varying genres each month. Sometimes prescribing an overarching goal for myself leaves me very little room to enjoy my free time and relax. So I’ve decided to take my dedication to structure beyond that, and create a sylabus to follow during my almost-one-month Christmas break in December.

Let’s face it, when we have time off we tend to binge watch that tv show we were saving until after exams and eat too much and drink too much and spend time with the ones who matter to us. Trust me, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I have a running list of documentaries, books, novels, articles, essays, tv shows yes and people to spend time with, and not a ton of time void of school in the break to do all that I want. So I want to go through and find what’s the most important, and give myself something to do rather than “be bored” over the break.

While snuggling in the DVLB (best Waterloo coffee shop in the winter months, if you ask me) I will have a preloaded kindle book by Jessa Crispin amidst my pourover coffee and notebooks. I want to listen to podcasts for a reason that are interesting and thought provoking while baking Christmas cookies or Knuts and Bolts.

How do I go about choosing the things to focus on? Well friend, it has been a long 3 months of graduate school, long and exciting. There have been readings from tons of theorists and some of which have inspired me to look furhter and create projects or myself. So that’s where I start, I’ve given myself 3-ish projects to work towards for the new year that are outside of schoolwork and creation.

I am going to keep those to myself, but let’s just say the content that I need to work through consist of works from disabled theorists, sexual education laws in Canada, feminist poetry internationally, online coding and website development. Every day I write down a new book or poem to check out or buy, every day I make another note to watch or search for more articles about something else. Every day I take about ten minutes to research something new, lately it has beenn the nature of getting an abortion in Toronto (for research reason) and also the nature of the topic online in the construction of womanhood.

This kind of thing is important to me because I love to be challenged and engaged in things that I actually care about. This is the first term I’ve ever experienced this much inspiration to write but also engagement in the content of what I am learning. I do not care about everything I am reading or writing or talking about in my classwork, but every single thing I’ve read has led me to something interesting reflected back to me in my own work.

I am so grateful to this program for providing me with the opportunity to exist within my own theory for a full year. How lucky is that?

I have only just started constructing this document but if you’d like to follow along or are interested in what exactly I’m going to be looking at I’ll be updating my Google Docs over the next month leading up to my Holiday reading list.

And as always, I like your face.

xx Jess


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