A few weeks ago, a very welcome email landed in my yotes account. It was from my advisor, Rochelle Johnson, who is returning from a year long sabbatical. Rochelle’s email asked me to be one of her research assistants for the fall semester.
Little could Rochelle have know that only the night before, during one of my chronic worry sessions, I had come up with the new worry of not knowing how to go about procuring a research position. I knew that research assistant positions existed, and I knew that they existed for English Lit majors as well as Bio majors, though they may be harder to come by. I just didn’t know how to go about getting one. I still don’t know how to get one, since mine just landed in my lap. But I suspect that I’ve been narrowly relieved of the necessity of making the rounds to all my professors to ask for one.
Skipping that step is fine by me, and I’m glad to have something lined up going into the year. My research assistantship will entail spending 3-5 hours a week doing researching on Susan Fenimore Cooper, transcribing 19th century letters, and proofreading.
Right after accepting the position, I made a trip to the library with the intention of getting a head start, or at least some context. I searched the catalog, and found only three books. The first book has Susan Fenimore Cooper listed as the author. But right below that, under “additional authors,” is Rochelle’s name. The publishing date is 1998. That means Rochelle has been working on Susan Femimore Cooper since I was five years old. Rochelle was working on this book when I was learning to read.
I guess literature is like that though. A book can be hundreds of years old, and its author can be long gone, but there are still new ways to read their text or understand their lives and we’re welcome to enter into that analysis whenever we get there.
Megan is a junior Literature in English major from Boise, Idaho.