Friday, December 09, 2005

One down, one to go.

As I noted (albeit paranthetically) in my last post, I haven't had much time to devote to this blog over the past week because I've been busy studying for a final exam and working on a term paper. I had the final - an oral examination for my Social Ethics class at SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary - last night. Given that this was my first oral exam, I went in with considerable apprehension. However, I'm pleased to report that the exam went well.

The exam was based upon two questions taken from a list of thirty-four given to students in advance by the professor; each student could choose one question to answer, with the second being chosen at random from the remaining questions. Each question embraces a broad topic of inquiry and provides the starting point for a dialogue between professor and student aimed at determining how much the student knows about a particular topic from the class. For example, the question I chose to answer asked for an explanation of the traditional natural law theory of just war. On the basis of my description of the conditions for ius ad bellum and ius in bello, the professor asked a number of questions testing the depth of my knowledge and reflection on the just war theory. I felt like I knew the theory pretty well going in, and the professor seemed pleased with the answers I gave to his questions. As to the second, randomly selected question, I lucked out by getting another question I knew well - one asking about the place of Catholic social teaching in the Magisterium of the Church. So even though the lead up to my first-ever oral exam was fairly nerve-racking, the exam itself was a cinch.

Over the weekend, I'll be devoting most of my attention to my term paper for the Contemporary Religious Movements class I'm taking at UDM. Due Monday, the paper must be at least twenty pages in length, though the professor's insistence on 14-point font makes it the functional equivalent of a fifteen-pager. The only concern I have about completing this paper is finding all the books and articles I need, as this is the first time I've had to write a graduate-level academic paper without access to the riches of Notre Dame's Hesburgh Library. I'm trying to make the most of the situation by structuring my paper in such a way that I can rely primarily on online resources, but I still feel somewhat challenged. I'll post an update on the situation on Monday, after I turn in the paper. In the meantime, your prayers are greatly appreciated. AMDG.


At December 15, 2005 11:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck, Joe! I'm sure your paper will be a smash hit. I'm slightly disappointed I didn't stick around long enough to take classes. I do miss schoolin'.



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