The genesis of the idea of a Vade Mecum comes from Dr P-S’s wife while she completed her PHD at the Sorbonne (some of hers are as ancient as twenty five years!) It’s a kind of journal that TREK students are encouraged to keep to record their ‘journey of belief’. The hope is that it becomes a lifelong companion for all academic study at KEHS and beyond into your future working life. The Vade Mecum comprises at least three sections of a notebook (imagine you’ve divided the book into beginning, middle and end):
Section 1: Definitions (usually placed at the beginning)
Throughout the TREK course, students come across various concepts and technical words whose definitions are crucial not only as a step towards building their knowledge and understanding of a topic, but also as a means of facilitating skilled argument.
Section 2: Sources (usually placed at the end)
This section is a student’s map which catalogues her intellectual curiosity. The shape of the map changes and its terrain shifts as she follows up on ideas and issues that have resonated in her mind. So here you’ll find snippets of a student’s reading; website addresses she found fascinating; artwork or images or photographs which stimulated reflective thought. If the Vade Mecum is constructed in a digital format, this section may contain audio or visual clips which reflect powerful ideas with which a student has engaged.
Section 3: Phraseology (starting at the middle stitched part of the book)
This is your ‘magpie’s nest’ of language, so to speak; a place where you collect elegant expressions and sophisticated sentences from writers you’ve read and by whose style you’ve been impressed always in the hope, of course, that some of this beauty will rub off onto your own writing. Now the kind of expressions you collect will depend on the nature of your interests: those of you interested in creative writing, for example, may use this space to be a bank of technical devices in which you deposit powerful metaphors, similes, antitheses and so on. TREK students aim to use this space to gather written expressions of critics and thinkers and speech givers whose eloquence with both written and spoken word act as a model for the students eventually to voice their own ideas with the same finesse.
See the examples entries from our TREK students’ ongoing Vade Mecum journals (they’re links to pdf files & you may have to rotate some of them for viewing!):