I feel like I have learned half a lifetime’s worth of information this semester. I learned there’s so many other ways to be involved in history that don’t require you to have a PhD or a fancy job in academia. The world of digital history is vast and full of unique opportunities that I want to take advantage of. I’ve been a little bit discouraged lately thinking about my future. The job prospects in academia are dismal, leaving me wondering if I will ever get to do something I’m passionate about as a career. Opening my mind up to all the digital tools I now can use, I feel like there’s going to be a place for me. Through blogging for this course and my project, I’ve become more comfortable and dare I say confident about my writing extending into academics and beyond.

The Final Project

Learning Python was a lot harder and more time consuming than I initially thought. It would take me sometimes 2-3 weeks to understand a single concept. My largest initial struggle was the text editor. Using BBEdit is not super user friendly for beginners and the other program recommended by the Programming Historian is no more (not compatible with newest MAC OS update and is no longer being maintained by the company). That was my largest setback and I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to overcome it, but I did. I did not get as far as I had planned by the end of the semester, but I’m proud of the work I’ve put in. Right now I have 4 blog posts up and I plan on continuing the Python series as well as adding posts on other topics.

One final plug for my blog:

3 Replies to “Reflections”

  1. Ava, I think it was very brave of you to attempt learning Python. And look at you! You’re LEARNING Python. This skill will be so helpful for your future historical research, both academically with research papers or digitally with public history projects (even though I know you’re not in the public history path). I really enjoyed how honest your blog posts are, because it made me feel like if I wanted to one day pick up Python, I could. While it would be challenging, your thoughts reveal that it takes work but eventually I would kind of get it. I really think you should keep up this blog as you continue learning more about Python. I also would consider maybe learning other coding (if it’s necessary?) and posting blog posts about those experiences as well!

  2. Hi, Ava! I really like your project and how you dedicated this semester to learning a digital tool. Your blog posts are informative and honest as you write about what you’ve learned and tips along the way. Also, your blog also shows how intersectional history is and how historians should learn more digital tools and programs. These posts make your blog highly helpful for anyone, including other historians, who would like to build their portfolio and learn Python.

  3. Hi Ava! Your project is great, and it’s especially awesome that you were willing to really put yourself out there not just in learning something that’s new and kind of intimidating to start off with, but to also publicly share how that progress was going, warts and all! It takes a lot to do that, and you were incredibly open about your positive progress and struggles in your blog posts! You were also really successful in developing a strong voice in your blog, it was super engaging and readable in a way that can be really tough!

    Hopefully you continue making good progress on learning Python and it’s helpful for you and your work moving forward, I’m excited to see your progress continue!

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