Nearing the End: Reflection and Farewell

This past semester has been a great time learning some new tidbits about history and meeting two kindhearted professors. I’m not originally from Virginia (actually quite new, my first-year post-pandemic), so any history associated with the state is new to me. I loved learning about the ladies of Occoquan Workhouse through my historical research project. Learning about the Night of Terror was especially heart-wrenching. I found the horrors they went through is something that can be easily taken for granted by those who already reaped the benefits from their suffering; it really brings perspective into how far we have gotten. In terms of improving my understanding of how to use technology, especially in relation to my sociology major, I’m grateful for being exposed to excel, believe it or not, I’ve never used it before! I was able to learn what a tidy data set is, and how to make tidy data sets, it was especially helpful being put out into breakout rooms allowing me to learn with other students. Group collaborations were great, something I wish would have been slightly more incorporated, especially due to it being a zoom class. Having a connection with the other students makes it feel like an in-person class. I digress– back to tidy data sets! Being a sociology major, I’m going to come across more history for future courses. For example, for a gender and society course, I’ll be taking next semester, I’m going to be able to create tidy data for stats on topics because sociology and history go hand in hand. Even if my future courses don’t call for it, learning a skill and being able to implement it is better than never knowing it at all. Another aspect of technology that I’ve learned in this history course is the existence of Knightlabs! In general, I am familiar with timelines and spatial mapping, however, I’ve never been able to create a timeline as easily as I was able to with the Knightlab feature. It was also great to learn about some GMU history, especially since this was my first semester! The four literacies were reassuring to learn. I felt some aspects (such as copyright and ethics) were especially interesting due to having such fine lines in terms of legality. In terms of history, I’m glad to have learned about the certificate of deaths of some of the men (Charles Brown, Nathaniel Howard, Thomas Wilcox, etc) who history may have forgotten, even if we didn’t get as much information as we could have it renders as a reminder that they existed. It was a wonderful semester, and I’m glad I got to spend it with both Professor Oberle and Professor Fahringer.