I’m in school again. I’m a student. It’s so cool, and yet so weird at the same time.
I haven’t really been a student in a long time. My Master’s was an experience in “this is how it’s done and I have little statuettes from academies, so everything I say is gold!” No debate, no real thought.
But here, it’s a good thing if you stand up and shout about what you think of something. It’s a good thing if you tell the head of the department he’s full of crap (as long as you can back it up, of course).
I was in a class a couple of weeks ago, and we reviewed a rather crap journal article, IMO. Some felt it had merit merely because it was interesting, and we went back and forth, back and forth over what has value in our field, what other schools perceive about our research, etc. We all shouted over one another and made points and trotted out examples. I had an amazing time.
In the induction week for postgrads, they kept telling us what a lonely experience PG life would be. How we would be depressed and isolated. I don’t feel that way at all. I’m making friends, making contacts, making allies (and okay, making nemeses). I feel like I’m back in the world again.
As far as my own work, I’m 80% done with my first paper. I’m sure once I review it, I’ll feel it’s disorganized and crap, and needs a lot of work, but at the moment I’m pretty happy with it. I feel as though I’ve thought a lot on the topic and done some good research, and drawn some connections that I haven’t seen elsewhere.
In fact, I haven’t seen much of what I’m doing elsewhere: people examining the transition from a print literature to a digital literature. Digital literature is totally fringe at the moment, either to specialized for the masses (like some of the hypertext novels), or too dumbed-down to be considered literature (make a story from your digital pics!). People throw digital fiction out there like it’s going to explode all by itself, but it won’t. Not for a while anyway.
So I’m hoping the things I’m doing will be important, not only to academia, but to the creative writing industry as well. I hope I can make that apparent to the funding bodies I’m applying to – research councils as well as industry.
My goal for the next month is to set myself out a plan – a plan for the course of my PhD, a plan for obtaining funding, and a detailed overview of my research, as I see it at this stage. I want to apply for a couple of opportunities (the Knowledge Economies Strategy Scholarship, and the Pitch to Win Comp, among other things.
When I get it put together, I’ll post it here so that I have tangible evidence, not just some note tucked away in a file.
I’m getting into this, all of this. The study, the classes, the papers, the discussion groups. I like it, dammit. Maybe I won’t be a hermit after all.