Well my fellow Tumblr folk, the MA is over and the PhD has begun.
We’re playing with the big boys now.
A big part of my new life for the next three months shall be re-working my initial research proposal into a Reseach Plan. This means taking my broadest of broad thoughts and trying to slim them down into something more easily accomplished in the space of three years. As I am a funded student, completion in three years is a bit of a must.
After suffering the inconvenience that is Freshers Flu (every god damn year…), I have spent the past few days trying to decided what aspect of my research to focus my attention upon.
Blimey it’s hard!
My research concerns women and their involvement with textiles during the long eighteenth century, however there are many glaring issues right off the bat.
Upper or lower class - both?
Girls, teens, married or spinsters - all of them?
'Involvement'= Religious, political, personal, artistic?
Do textiles define gender?
Does ‘gender’ define textiles…?
Which textiles shall i focus on - one, some, or all?
'Long eighteenth century', that's roughly, 1688-1832… all of it? Some of it?
A chronological approach or a thematic approach?
So many possibilities, and each of them just as interesting to explore as the last!
I remember a time when 80,000 words scared me, but now… It doesn’t seem like very much at all when you stop to think about what all of that has to cover. I’d like to go back to my undergraduate self and give her a good old shaking. She thought 2,500 word essays were the hardest thing she’d ever have to tackle!
Strap in my friends, it shall be an interesting three years ahead…
Do you ever feel like you’re going to be crushed under the weight of all the stuff you need to do?
Moving across the country…
Arranging a new flat…
Finishing a Masters dissertation…
IN 3 WEEKS.
If you need me I’ll be under my desk, rocking and sobbing and wishing I could control time itself.
You know when you love a show, and you become fixated on a character because they’re exactly what you wish people were like in real life?
Then you find a HUGE F’ING SPOILER that makes you wish you’d never found the show at all? And you don’t know if you can carry on watching, but it’s a matter of principle now - you must.
Mother Frickin’ Dollhouse.
Joss Whedon, I’m so done with you right now.
So yesterday evening I was in the pub with some friends and we got talking to a couple of folks at the bar.
As is the way in a university town, the conversation turned to that go-to question, ‘So, what are you going to do after your degree?’
Now, I am well aware that some people who go to university will find that their degree will not help them to get a job. I am aware that some people only go to university to put off entering the ‘working world’. I am aware that there are those in our society who are a little annoyed with these people, who see students as debt-attracting shirkers.
However, I find it very galling to be told that my PhD scholarship, which I won after putting in months of hard work during my fourth year of university is ‘just another way for me to avoid getting a proper job’.
University is not just a last-ditch stop on the way to working life, and it certainly isn’t a place for the country’s youth to piss about for three years. Sure, that might be the motivation of some students, but it certainly isn’t the case for everyone.
Those students who go on to pursue a postgraduate qualification should be treated with more respect and should be given more chances to excel. Their achievments should not be belittled, because for the most part they will be the people who go on to enrich our academic culture and who keep our universities diverse places of learning.
The idea that universities are places for people to hide away from life has taken far too strong a root. It shouldn’t be forgotten that universities are primarily places for the acquisition of knowledge for knowledge’s sake - and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.