What a difference a day makes

Well, a year, actually.

I am in the second year of my graduate program and I would never have expected that to matter as much as it does.

For starters, I’m not crazed with massive amounts of reading this year. This is not to say there’s only a little of it; anthropology is a reading intensive subject, let’s face it. But I have amounts of reading to do that are actually humanly possible.

I like that.

At the same time, as a second year, I feel like I’m more involved with the mechanics of the department, and those sorts of politics have taken up a noticeable chunk of my time and neurons.

I’m not sure how I feel about that. 

The thing about being a second year is that your world is kind of wrapped up in your Master’s thesis (if you don’t happen to be one of those lucky souls who came into the program with an MA already). You wouldn’t think it’d be registering on my radar yet, since the thesis doesn’t have to be turned in until April 1st. Yeah, well, I’m already feeling a certain amount of pressure about it but that’s mostly because my advisor wants a draft from me by December.

Eeeekkkkkk!

-ahem- 

Progress is occurring. My committee is constituted and I’m very happy with it. I have almost completed a draft of my Ph.D. study plan, a document I’ll have to submit at the end of my fourth semester — not with, but at more or less the same time as my thesis. I even have a tentative outline if the actual thesis.

It is supposed to be between 20 and 60 pages or so … not too bad. I’ve written papers that long for undergrad. So what, you may ask, am I twitching about?

Theory.

I’m twitching because this paper needs some theoretically sophisticated framing for the topic. I need to decide what existing theoretical debates I want to wade into, which theoretical paradigms I want to challenge, and who I am prepared to argue gets it right.

In other words, this thesis needs to demonstrate that I’m ready to play in the big anthropologist’s sandbox.

Now I know what they mean by “imposter symdrome.”

No doubt I’ll feel better when I stop planning and start writing. For motivation, I can see a light, called a Master’s degree, at the end of this tunnel.

And I’ll be that much closer.

More than a year in and I’m still excited. Yay!

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