So, this is the part where you all realize I’m not perfect. I know, I know, it’s a shocking concept. But the fact is, I am a human like everybody else. I’ll let you have a moment to let that sink in.
(Sorry, I’m delaying the part where I actually have to admit to non-perfectness. Another flaw.)
I’m having some issues with my research project. On the surface, I think it looks like I’m doing fine, getting stuff done. However, I must admit that while I don’t regret taking it on, I do wish I wasn’t presenting at a conference in a few weeks.
I know that I’ve had two months to research. I’ve done a lot with that time, actually. Read many research papers, talked to Peace Corps volunteers about their opinions, met with my faculty mentor and had some of the most satisfying conversations this year, had late night discussions over Facebook about authenticity. I have a great database framework set up, just waiting to be filled in. I’ve bought my plane ticket to Costa Rica and I am 100% that will be a productive trip where I’ll ask the questions I come up with this semester and compile a lot of amazing data. I wrote an amazing abstract and I love the title.
In summary, I haven’t been exactly slacking.
But my paper is still unwritten. The database is empty save a few links and comments. The mandated poster board is undesigned.
Now, it’s 3:20pm on Sunday. I meet with my mentor for one of the last times tomorrow, and the official panel the next Monday to show them final drafts.
And I’m still sitting at my computer, unable to begin.
So, remembering that I promised myself to write a blog post every Sunday, I turn to yet another distraction.
The issues are these:
- To write the paper like I originally had envisioned it, I need a exhaustive understanding of tourism studies, which equals reading many, many more research papers––which are 1) hard to read, 2) take time and energy, 3) offer conflicting views on everything.
- The direction I’m currently headed in (defining characteristic of the tourist and types of authenticity) has been discussed throughly and is now being left behind by the field. However, some of what they’re leaving behind is not, in my opinion, very good, and so I’m stuck making the same tables as ones already made, keeping a few names and concepts, and adding in the rest myself, which leads to –>
- I’m not confident in remixing research done by other people yet. I’m afraid of plagiarizing unintentionally, of breaking rules of a game I don’t know very well. In the 3D printing world Tinkercad, users are clearly invited to take somebody’s work, “remix” and redesign at will, and print out the finished product, no harm done. However, intellectual property is a whole different ballpark. Ballgame. You feel me.
- Even if all these problems above were solved, I still don’t have a lot of time in the day to dedicate to this. On top of 19 credits, I have a part time job and an internship and a 4.0 GPA to maintain. Then there’s Minerva to apply to and prep for, scholarships to apply for, family to maintain connections with. Plus all those adult things––shopping for groceries, filling taxes and amendments (oops), comforting friends when Tinder dates go poorly. Going on bad dates myself.
Finally, I don’t bullshit well. I don’t like to do anything unless I’m putting 101% into it, and I don’t want to present at the conference unless it is something that is worth other peoples’ time. And so, I put off the project for all the reasons listed above, and because I want an extension so I can do it all over again, right this time. I don’t really want to rush through it. But instead of starting now, ensuring I don’t have to rush as much, I find myself doing everything else first.
The scariest thing of all is to admit that I’m not doing this perfectly. I think a lot of that comes from being accepted to Minerva, who is pretty vocal about the quality of students they choose to accept and how perfect we are. I’m almost afraid that somebody from Admissions will read this and go, “we better retract her acceptance letter!” Or one day in the future political rivals will bring up my imperfect First Year Project as proof I can’t run a country. Etc, etc.
If anybody has thoughts on how to proceed in this research, on what to do when you’ve got everything and nothing to rewrite, on where I could go from here, I’d love to hear your thoughts.