I have been away for so long, I can almost say it hurts!
The only good news is that I have not been idle. A junkie is never idle really. We get high on stuff – for me, I was high on CNN, BBC and Aljazeera’s coverage of the Mutallab 2009 event. I compared the kind of coverage each organization gave the story, and boy oh boy – talk about discoveries. That is a story best saved for later though.
Right now, let me fill you in on the life of a Researcher; that is what my life has been for the past 4 to 5 months. I believe freshers for 2010/2011 session (starting this september) in whatever Varsity, will find this post quite useful (and witty I hope).
The Early Days:
First of all, when your tutor begins to drop hints in-between lectures about turning in dissertation topics for approval, it feels like a joke – like a mirage – a distant thought. Then gradually, it builds up momentum and one day he comes into class with a straight stern face, “by wednesday next week, I want each of you to turn in your dissertation proposal.” At this point, reality sinks from the top-scalp, to the edge of the skull .
I am serious, it goes right through that brazillian-weave, to the root of your natural hair, down the scalp, into your brain. For guys, well the balder you are the faster it sinks, LOL.
This period represents when you draw out a pen and a notepad and jot the silliest research ideas down. You will be amazed at the amount of idealistic junk buried in your lovely grey-matter (also known as the brain). As exepected of every student, I started with lofty ideas – “I can save the world with this sole research study”. No matter how good you are, I think you will always have to make that mistake of taking on so much, and then suddenly realizing you have to narrow down your study and be more specific. To cut a long story short, I kept narrowing and stream-lining and trimming, till I had something that could work as a proposal. Out of a mass of ‘junk’, sense was made. My proposal got approved and it was time to kick-start the process. Here comes the Middle Ages.
The Middle Ages
I spent most of this age in the library, looking for books, journals, anything that could be relevant to my work. I followed organizations and relevant individuals on twitter, which was also a handy distraction whenever my brain was on overdrive.
At this point, the only cute guys/girls I saw were those who visit the library – this is because, your life would revovle around home and the building of books (well, depending on how serious a student you are). You would either be on lock down at home or conversing with the shelves in the library, like “ooh you shelf, where are you hiding this book?”
One huge mistake to make is to leave your work to the last minute. Some people are born for such moments, but I can hardly be convinced that you are able to explore your full potential in a rushed research work. No matter how much of a whiz-kid you are, it is a dangerous affair.
Well, the middle ages was pretty much writing and re-writing, and printing, and searching. Let me warn you, that there will be moments you will doubt if you are making sense at all. To help you through this phase, chat with people about what you are working on – and see how easily they grasp it. The faster they grasp it, the more convinced you should be that you are on the right track. Some may roll their eyeballs in boredom till they threaten to pop (loads of my friends did that) while you chat about it, DON’T BE MOVED! if amidst rolling their eyes, they understand – high 5s.
This is the period you’ve been waiting for. The end. When all you have to do is deal with grammatical blunders, punctuation marks, printing and binding. It is every student’s fairytale. But after all that is said and done, I think I can guarantee that you would miss the pump of adrenaline that comes with it.
If you have just concluded your dissertation as well and have tips to share or questions to ask, just drop a comment.
I am only a click away – peace!