Category Archives: College

fickle mcgee

So…I’m an English major again.

I was never officially not an English major. I was just planning on not completing my major and getting a minor. But when I was buying books for this semester, I was really sad that I wasn’t buying any English textbooks.

Plus I realized that after I get back from Florence, my Art History major will pretty much be completed. So why not?

The only thing I am anxious about is two senior theses to write in one semester. But my goal is to do most of my art research in Florence and over the summer.

One of the main reasons I thought I didn’t want to be an English major was because I didn’t feel as compelled to write about anything in literature as I did in art. But looking back at sophomore year, the literature classes I took weren’t really in my research interests. I took Jane Austen, Perspectives on Literature and British Literature after 1700. I loved all the classes, but Austen has never been what I wanted to research because I love her so much and my research interests very seldom overlap my personal interests. And it is hard to go back to big, survey classes like Brit Lit after being in small seminar classes.

But now I am in Medieval Romance which is amazing and wonderful. And I get to think about all my favorite things in literature (gender dynamics, voyeurism, religion) in the context of literature that is actually compelling to me.

I am also thinking about my senior seminar for English. I am thinking I am going to return to my Villette research from my first year class called “The Women Question in Victorian Literature.” Previous blog posts about this research are here, here and here. I focus on the protagonist’s, Lucy Snowe, relation to both theater and the Catholic Church as a voyeur to both and how her being a temporary voyeur in both situations allows for her to stop being a voyeur in her actual life.

I don’t know if I am going to stick with Villette or look at the continental Catholic Church in other Victorian novels. But that’s where I am starting!

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Week One in Review

I don’t know if this semester could be more perfect. I guess I could be in Italy. But as far as US based semesters go, this is definitely the most excited I’ve been.

I’ve only attended all of my classes only once, but I enjoyed them all. The make up of the classes are a nice mix of people I know and love and people I’ve never met.

I’m officially in Cicero (Latin) at Agnes Scott since I didn’t get into Italian at Emory. But that’s okay! Cicero is by far my favorite Roman and I get to have one of my favorite professors for the first time in a language class.

I hate to say this, but how am I already being converted to a Gothic lover? Vasari would be so ashamed of me! But in Age of Cathedrals,  I’m learning that what I love about Renaissance and Baroque art (patronage, political intrigue, men in funny hats) is still happening during the Gothic period, just on a smaller scale and in multiple places, instead of just Rome.

I am so excited about the Renaissance History reading list. It really focuses on primary sources and I am all about Renaissance through Renaissance eyes. And it is pretty cool that I have Renaissance right after Cathedrals and Cicero. Because already in the readings all the Renaissance guys are poo-pooing the Gothic and yelling “CICERO. LET ME LOVE YOU!”*

The only class I am a little wary about is Feminisms and Religion. It is just so big! I don’t mind big classes that much, but the professor seems to want it really to be a discussion based class, as it should be based on the material. However, I am little worried about getting overwhelmed or lost in the conversation.

*Some historical perspective provided by yours truly

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Expectations and Classes: Fall 2011

I’ve liked this exercise ever since my first year in college, when I mentioned on my blog that I was not too excited about my American Literature class because I hated American Lit. Then it turned out to be on of my favorite classes I’ve taken at Agnes Scott. So here’s a list of my classes for Fall 2011 and what I am expecting to get out of them and enjoy.

ART 312: The Age of Cathedrals-I am a little nervous about this class. It is the first full art history class I’ve taken with the professor who was on sabbatical last year. The combination of a professor I don’t know and a subject I am uncomfortable with (French! Gothic! Architecture!) I am nervous. But I am excited to try something different in art history after all those contemporary classes last year.

HIS 347: Renaissance Italy: Ideas and Culture-So excited! I haven’t gotten the opportunity to take any Renaissance art classes yet, and I wanted to have a least some background before I went to Florence. This is my first 300 level History class so that is a little nerve wracking because I haven’t written a history paper since…junior year of high school. But hopefully my love of the Medici will motivate me to work hard.

REL 224: Feminisms and Religion-This class. I really don’t know anything about it. It is a little about the history of women in religion, as well as applying feminist theory to religions. It fulfills a requirement that I have yet to find a way to fulfill. I am little nervous just because I did not enjoy my last religious studies class, but I am hoping for the best!

Either Italian at Emory or LAT 314: Cicero-I am only going to take one language class this semester. So if I get into Italian at Emory University (we don’t offer it at my school), I will take that. I am excited for either of them. Italian will obviously be a little more useful, considering that I am going to Italy in the spring. But if I have to Cicero, it will be with one of my favorite professors and that is one less Classics course I have to take my senior year to finish my minor.

PED 129: Boot Camp-I signed up for this on a whim. But it is a PE credit, and it is only for two months in the middle of the semester. I just have to get up SUPER early for it. But I am excited! I am trying to run the Thanksgiving Half-Marathon in Atlanta and while I’ve been training a lot over the summer, I think this will help me keep it up until the big race day!

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dorm style inspiration: fall 2011

So last year my theme was art nouveau. and I LOVED it. I love DIY-ing all my different crafts and coming up with elements. Some of the stuff is going to stay in the room (like my all time favorite DIY craft project-my art nouveau decoupage table, seen later in the post), and some stuff will go (I unfortunately don’t have enough room for my fabulous peacock headboard). But something I did last year is inspiring me this year.

I lived in a loft room last year, so we have this one HUGE wall that remained undecorated for most of the year. And then sometime in March I decided I wanted it to look happier, so I taped a bunch of inspiring pictures/collages on the wall in a salon style. I loved the look of it.

This year, I am living in a theme house with a bunch of other girls (check out our blog for our activities through out the year!). The way the room is set up, there are windows on two adjacent walls, and the way my roomie and I split the room is so that she has one side with windows and we share a side with windows.

Here’s a not-remotely-to-scale picture:

So you see that again, I have a great big wall to decorate. But this year I want it to look slightly more planned than last year, which was literally “ooo this is a cool image from a magazine, lemme stick it on my wall!”

First, in case you don’t know what “salon style” hanging is, it means in the style of the salons that exhibited art in the 19th century. Salons were usually like competitions, so there would be bunches of entries. Instead of the way most pieces are hung in museums today, where you see one piece at a time and then move on to the next one, there would be pictures hanging at all levels, all around each other.

The Salon of Madame Geoffrin


So there are some examples of what I mean. I want the wall to just be filled with images of things I love.

I already have a healthy collection of collages and posters I’ve made/acquired at my house. But I would say the smallest out of all these is 12×12 and the biggest is standard movie poster sized. Some of the images included are:

My favorite late-night host, Jimmy Fallon's cover of Rolling Stone


Pride and Prejudice Movie Poster


This poster from UPenn, advertising their summer classes, that I swiped while on spring break visiting my brother.

Mixed-Media, Self-Portrait that I did my senior year of High School and my favorite piece from my studio art days.

Those are four examples out of maybe 30 larger sized pieces that will be on the wall. But how am I planning on getting 30 pieces to all fit together with clean lines in between? I’m not really. So I’m preparing a file of smaller pictures to print out from my computer. So far I have about 150 images that I am planning on prints as various sizes, between 3 x 5 and 5 x 8. I may whittle that down to around 75 for the first printing and decorating process and go from there. But here’s a collage of some of the images I am planning on including, so you can get a taste.

Starting on the top left: Anthony Perkins being ridiculous, Zooey Deschanel, Cole Hamels, illustration from Make Way For Ducklings, Evelyn Nesbitt, Saturday Night Specials, North by Northwest, Elle Fanning, A Little Princess, A Room with a View, Cassie Ainsworth, Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose by John Singer Sargent, A Room with a View Book Cover, Photography by Sally Mann, Perfect Hair, Manet v. Monet boxing poster, Il Duomo

So one way that I am trying to make the salon wall look cleaner is plan ahead of time. I chose quality images that mean something to me, and I know that I need certain smaller sizes, so that’s how I am going to print them. Another thing that I am going to try and do is frames. But obviously, I can’t afford 75+ frames. Earlier in the summer, I stumbled upon this DIY project from designsponge. The project is making paper frames for pictures. And I love the idea. There was a project that we used to do at the High Museum where we would build up colorful pieces of cardboard on basic frames. So I might try that too. But I really like the idea of just framing random pictures. I think it will some formality to the craziness of the salon hanging.

Other design elements of the room include:

Low Quality Picture of the Table

A canvas chair that all my friends from high school (and some from college) signed every time they came to my house, which I surprisingly don’t have a picture of.

So I don’t really have a theme, as much as one large design element that will hopefully turn out amazing! Pictures will be coming as soon as I move in and get the pictures up.

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Potential Schedule and Some News

Wow. I’m almost a junior! How exciting is that!? I’m almost halfway done with my college career. But a new semester means…new classes!

In a similar vein of future, I have something to share with the blog: I am officially only an Art History major.

After my trip to Philadelphia and talking to my brother’s professors at Penn about Art History graduate school, I realized that I really want to throw myself fully into Art History, that this is what I want to do with my life. I also realized that double majoring had really stressed me out of the last two years. I’ve taken five classes every semester in my first two years of college so that I could do this.  But if I want to go to graduate school in Art History, how much is an English B.A. going to help me get in? And how much might it even hurt me if taking English classes prevents me from taking Art History classes here at Agnes, or doing as well as I can in those I do take, especially my senior seminar coming up in Fall 2012.

So I talked to my advisors, who were really supportive, and I decided this would be the time to drop my English major. With my Brit Lit class this semester, I’ve just finished an English minor, so none of the classes I have taken with have been “wasted” in elective space.

My schedule for next semester reflects my changing plan, and my changing methods of maintaining sanity. I told myself that I was going to only take four classes, and I am sticking to it.

The theme of my courses is: Italia! I’m still planning on going to Italy Spring 2012, and as it would happen, the classes I get to take all have to do with Italy!

So the classes are: The Age of Cathedrals (Art History), Renaissance Italy: Ideas, Culture and Lived Experience (History), Cicero (Latin), and Italian at Emory!

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Spring Break: Day 1-3

So I’m in Philadelphia!

I came to visit my twin brother at his school in Philadelphia for my spring break. One of my tasks this break is to do my interview for an internship with the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

And I’ve already had a really productive week! I’ve visited the PMA in Philadelphia yesterday, and took a bus to New York to see the Frick Collection and the Museum of Modern Art with my cousin.

I didn’t quite finish the PMA because I headed back there on Wednesday for my interview. But we saw the Constantine tapestries! Granted, you can’t go the museum without seeing them. They are huge; there are 13 of them; and they are wrapped around the Great Stair case when you have to walk through to get anywhere, except maybe the special exhibition space. Seeing those was amazing because I’d never seen the work that inspired my interest in patronage!

In New York, I definitely preferred the Frick Collection to the MoMA just because I liked the cozy environment. It really is an overlooked jewel box in the city. You go and you turn a corner and there’s a Ingres! and there’s a Rembrandt! and there’s a Goya! It was like I assume Europe will be like. The interior design was also interesting and lighting concept was phenomenal.

Of course I still loved the MoMA! It was really cool to see things like William de Kooning’s Women I, a Jackson Pollack, Water Lilies, The Starry Night, some Futurism, a Jasper Johns. But mostly it was like I liked seeing things I recognized. I’d like to go back sometime and look at the lesser things instead of just things I was taught in Survey or Contemporary Art.

One thing I’ve noticed in sort of moving through history: I haven’t given the Impressionists enough credit. I saw a Velazquez at the Frick and I was surprised about how not emphasized his brush strokes are. In Baroque art we talked about the “painterly” quality of especially Velazquez. But when you are looking at the piece, while there is a difference in the literal picture being depicted, I couldn’t really see the brush strokes in a way that you can in the Impressionists and after. So that was jarring, but wonderful because it helped me finally “get” what the big deal about Impressionism was/is.

MoMA was really fun because I got to go with my cousin, Sarah. And it was awesome to see art we learned about in Contemporary Art and Theory. Also, I loved the photography exhibits that were being shown: Staging Action: Performance in Photography since 1960 and Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography which are pretty directly related to what I want to do my research for History of Photography.

Overall so far my trip has been amazing!

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Study Abroad and Puccini

I turned in my study abroad form to Agnes Scott! And early too!

This isn’t the form that tells me if I am going, it is the form that tells me if I’m allowed to go. Because I am applying to go abroad Spring 2012, I won’t apply through International Studies Abroad until summer-October of this year.

This is to say, I’ve become addicted to Puccini. I’ve never liked opera a whole lot. But Puccini’s aria “O mio babbino caro” is featured at the beginning of A Room with A View, which I’ve seen over a hundred times, so I figured I would check out Puccini. And the result is: I love him. Plus his name is Giacomo, which is my favorite Italian name.

This would also be a good time to introduce to you….In Santa Croce with No Baedeker, a study abroad blog from miss woodhouse! Right it is super unexciting as I will not be in Florence for over nine months, but if you want to keep up with my preliminary actions and the hijinks that are sure to ensue as I try to get a passport and student visa, check out it!

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