Each year at CNU the Center for American Studies (CAS) holds conferences on specific topics. The first year I was aware of these conferences, the topic was Abraham Lincoln. The convenient timing of this conference could not be understated. During my sophomore year my leadership class and one of my government classes were focused on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, and it just so happened that the Lincoln conference would bring in pre-eminent scholars on Lincoln and the Civil War to talk about things ranging from Lincoln and the Supreme Court to how he decided who he wanted in his cabinet.
The value of being able to listen to people who have written books on the subject you are writing your next paper on is incredible. With a handful of events and panels surrounding similar topics to those you learn about in class, the conferences never fail to deliver.
Last year the focus was Franklin D. Roosevelt. Knowing about this ahead of time was useful for me because I could strategically decide my more open-ended paper topics around linking it to FDR. After the conference I had a bunch of extra material I could incorporate into my papers that were unique and original as well.
Good grades were the result.
I don’t think I am the first person to realize that using outside resources can really help a paper grade, and it turns out that the American Studies conferences are not the only opportunities. Each department advertises events on a regular basis. Many of these events are academic in nature and can teach you a lot about issues and aspects of various areas of study.
This week I’ll be attending the Thomas Jefferson conference. There is always something more to learn about the founding fathers, and I am interested in learning more about Jefferson than that Declaration of his and the political party he led.
I count myself as lucky to have so many opportunities at CNU. Random events throughout the year such as the CAS conferences afford me and others with chances to learn more about politics, science, history and the world around us.