I’ve realized that I have a new tendency of being cautious. I’m not sure why this is, but I noticed that over the past two months (the first two months of graduate school) I have been very cautious. I have been observing the ways that people interact, trying to determine what is or is not normal or common practice. It’s a strange thing to do I guess, but it comes from a history of being a ‘people-watcher’. I like to watch and observe my surroundings to best decide how I should interact with those surroundings. I’m not sure how I feel about this yet, because I miss being a bit more reckless – throwing myself into any given situation putting 100% of my heart and soul into it.
I don’t do that anymore.
I will do it again though. I’m no longer half-committed to the graduate school experience, I don’t feel like I have to prove that I belong anymore. I do belong, or else I wouldn’t be here. Yes, I am young. Yes, this is new to me. But what better way to learn? Trying to fit in too much was making me extremely anxious to speak in seminars (or even to people outside of seminars) for fear of not saying the right thing, or having interpreted a reading or talk differently. I’m also not content with being a part of my surroundings or a part of the status quo (despite having done this for a bit) and I am going to stand out, I’m going to question things, and I’m not going to implicitly form myself to fit whatever frame or box is in place. I’m remembering who I am and what I like most about myself and getting back to that.
We will see what happens.
I have finally submitted (and paid for) my graduate school applications after spending weeks reviewing and re-reading my applications. I came close to submitting them several times before but kept getting intense feelings of nervousness before I could hit ‘send’.
I believe that I am making the right decisions, that I will enjoy my Masters experience, and that I will contribute something new to my field with my thesis. But now it means I have to wait months until I hear back to determine if I will be one of the select few allowed in.
Now, I have to finalize my thesis proposal, proving that my research will be something new; this also pretty much determines what kind of work I will be doing for the remainder of my academic career and what I will be an ‘expert’ in.
Any words of wisdom from the wordpress world?
You heard it. I’m going to do something I promised would never happen (but at this current time do not understand why I was so against it).
I’m going to go for a research degree. When thinking of grad school while still in school, it makes sense to avoid writing papers when all you do in your spare time is write papers that you may or may not be interested in. But in the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to choose the topics of more of my research papers and this enabled me to understand my research interests. I’ve also found that during this internship I miss doing research, I miss writing, I miss essays and papers and research papers. Enough so that I’m applying to research degrees for grad school.
I’m looking at programs that allow me to overlay studies in differing geographical regions with issues pertaining to women’s experiences. This is proving to be quite difficult. But I believe I have found two Geography programs that either have specializations in gender or have supervisors with extensive experience in gender.
This also means that I have to develop my research interests. This summer I had the opportunity to write a paper on how sexual assault constitutes an act of genocide using the current conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I’m still interested in this, and would like to explore it further, but may look at other case studies and situations that have had internationally recognized genocides or instances where genocide is not ‘officially occuring’ but sexual violence/assaults against members of the population is rampant (sexual assault against women and men). I’m also interested in the ways in which the forced transmission of HIV is used as a weapon of war.
Any ideas or suggested reading material would be great. Tell me what you think, is this a good program idea? What were your experiences with doing a research degree (or why did you choose not to do one)? Any suggestions for choosing a research area?