#reverb10 – Beyond Avoidance.
What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)
(Author: Jake Nickell — @skaw)
I’m a social scientist.
Or, I’m becoming one.
See, I’m a total dork. I absolutely LOVE higher ed. I love being around people who are actively working on exercising their brains, who love to grapple with ideas, who seek to honor and create their life-work and life-learning. And while I’ve found such people in all parts of my life, the environment of academia sweeps me off my feet (despite its bureaucracy and ivory tower-ness).
I’m currently working on my third degree—a master of social sciences degree. I powered through and completed all of my coursework in two years, taking a full-time graduate load and spending many, many hours in the stacks and in cafes.
I quit my job a year ago so I could focus exclusively on school. But “exclusively on school” became “inclusively of everything but school.” I finished up my last graduate course in May, and then my intention was to jump fully into researching and writing my thesis (the thesis being my last project in order to earn my master’s). I thought I’d have all the time in the world to read & write—no courses to take, no traditional work hours…just me, some books & journal articles, and my laptop.
But ya know what happened instead?
- I focused on working for myself (both trying to figure out what I wanted to do work-wise, and doing work just so I could pay my bills).
- I was VERY social—I spent time with loved ones and attended & helped plan tons of local events.
- I was in a relationship.
- And, I basically let my thesis hover in the Doesn’t This Thing Write Itself? part of my brain.
As it turns out, my thesis didn’t write itself.
As summer came to a close and I had piddly work to show for my thesis, I began avoiding my thesis full-out. I should have had so much done. I should have sought out professors for my thesis committee. I should have the calluses on my fingers to prove how much I’d written. But because I hadn’t satisfied any of these shoulds, I buried my head in the academic sand.
Totally avoided something that I’ve always been so passionate about. Weird.
2011 puts me back on the road to becoming a social scientist.
A huge part of my grad school inspiration comes from the brilliant, insanely hard-working, reach-for-the-stars Alex. She writes at The Tao of Grad School, and through knowing her as a friend AND the grad life she writes about, I’m motivated to keep knucklin’ and brawlin’.
So. I’m devoting 25-30hrs/week to my thesis. I’m going to gather a fantastic thesis committee. I’m seeking funding to do a bit of research in Toronto. And I really hope to defend in May of 2011. It may be a crazy timeline, but I believe I can do it.
So here’s to gettin’ my dork on. Again.