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Statement of Academic Interests

The Statement of Academic Interest is due next week, and when I last checked only about fifty of you had submitted the form. Please remember to hit "Submit Questionnaire" so that your answers are recorded and sent to me. I'll be using the Statement of Academic Interest to assign you a pre-major advisor, so it's really important that you get it done soon. Your pre-major advisor will be your academic advisor until you declare a major, which for most of you won't be until your sophomore year.

I hope that the short written response to a passage from A Visit from the Goon Squad isn't causing the delay. The novel is a quick read, and once your realize that it's got an inventive narrative strategy (each chapter begins a new story), you should be able to breeze through it: read a chapter at a time, as if it were a collection of short stories. Don't expect to find a main character you can relate to and admire. Instead, concentrate on gaining some critical distance from your emotional responses: if you dislike a character, consider why. Think about how the "goon squad" of the title might serve to unify the otherwise disjunctive narrative. Think about how Egan is challenging or disrupting normative narrative conventions.

And don't neglect the Statement of Academic Interests because you are still reading the novel. Submit your Statement even if you have not completed the novel by next week: select a passage from the part you've read so far and finish the novel in August.