Monday, February 07, 2005

I am lazy. Especially when it comes to productive work. Work that would pay bills, yield degrees, open doorways to hopefully well-paying jobs. And nothing makes my fingers shrivel up more than the thought of writing up my dissertation. I know there are support groups for doctoral students out there, but it all seems a bit self-indulgent to me. A few months ago, Ileana told me something I really liked. She said she had been told by her advisor to write her dissertation as if her readership consists solely of her intelligent grandma. To stretch the idea further, I thought I should not only write for the intelligent grandma, but make it out as a blog for her. I love the idea of blogs as spaces where ideas and thoughts can be added incrementally. And my dissertation seems way more fun when I think of it as a blog. That's probably the key, that there should be some joy, some fodder to my curiosity, some kind of academic mystery to solve. Otherwise, this dissertation would never get done, and that's a scary thought.

I think the other problem is that I started out with a certain idea that had a lot of appeal to me (port development and global trade) and then had to move on to something that I've sort of learned to like (intermodal transport and port cargo) due to funding requirements. It's hard to constantly reassure yourself that you can always do whatever you want once the constraints of writing a dissertation are done with. Then there is the vulnerability of being an immigrant, the lack of wider choice (go where your work visa leads you).

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