Monday, May 21, 2012

Academic Epiphany, Part Two: End of the Semester and Thesis Changes...Again

One year down on my Masters degree.  The grades are all in and I survived what was a pretty difficult semester.  Issues with professors, issues with content, and issues with procrastination made for an unpredictable outcome grade-wise.  I pulled it all together and came out unscathed.  I can say with no shame that I am happy with my B in ANTH 602 and hope to never have to take another archaeological method and theory class again.

If anyone out there has been keeping score while reading my blog, you will know I've been having trouble with my thesis topic.  I thought for sure that I had gotten it all straightened out.  I was going to study the effects of the Texas drought on the hunting industry.  Yes, kinks were still being hammered out, but research topics are always in a sort of fluctuation, being melded and molded every which way until its absolutely perfect.  I thought that was the stage I was in.  After the end of the semester calmed down, I emailed my adviser essentially asking what my next step should be.  I wasn't sure if he wanted to meet with me to work out a summer game plan or if an email would suffice.  In the email, I *may* have alluded to being stressed out about the whole researching and writing a thesis thing, so he knew I was having reservations about my topic but understood that I wanted to be working on something.  I really hate sitting around doing nothing.  I have a whole stack of recreation/non-school related/fun books to read this summer to keep me occupied.  In addition to reading and working at the law firm again this summer (which I am always eternally grateful that they let me come back year after year), I wanted to make some headway in my thesis, which I couldn't do until something was finalized.  

Fast forward to today at 3 pm.  We have finalization!  I have a real thesis topic!  Hallelujah! 

Ok, yes, the topic is different, BUT, in my defense, it is a topic I've (somewhat) worked on before in a class in the fall: ANTH 604 with my advisor, to be more specific.  I'm no longer looking at the Texas drought and hunting.  I'm not looking at the US at all even.  In addition to completely changing locales and topics, my research style is changing.  No field research...which is comforting and scary at the same time.  I wanted to step outside my comfort zone and do field research, but I think that doing archival and literature review research will ultimately be what is best for me.  

The new topic feels better to me.  My research is still a comparative study, but now, it is focused on two different areas affected by earthquakes and tsunamis (Indonesia/Thailand [which one is still being worked out] and Japan).  I'm focusing on disaster modeling and how the two areas/countries were affected and reacted differently after the disasters struck.  A huge curve ball to all of this is the pesky nuclear reactor problem that Japan has, but it'll add an interesting perspective to how it was affected differently.  

Even after changing my topic (again), I'm still scared.  Laying this all out in this post has me nervous (again).  What if I lose focus again and start to over-think and over-analyze my entire research project?  I think it really comes down to me worrying that I'll fail and not be able to complete this.  I don't want to let anyone down, especially myself.  I've never really embarked on anything of this magnitude and it scares the crap out of me.  Luckily, I've already found some articles to start reading.  I downloaded a 500 page book, chapter by chapter, so 1) I wouldn't have to buy it and 2) so it could write/highlight/underline on it.  

I need to stop second-guessing myself.  I need to just jump in and start reading the preliminary lit that I've found and that my advisor recommended.  I have to start somewhere.

1 comment:

  1. Silly girl, you have never failed at ANYTHING you set your mind to. Don't stress so much! And I read your initial paper on that topic and it was really good. Also, it seems like a better fit for you than the hunting thing. And also also, I feel like I missed a blog post somewhere. *goes back to find it* Moral of the story: you're awesome and will continue to be awesome, so stop doubting youself. I love you :)