Today I’m just planning to ramble. Hopefully you can keep up. I just need to get my thoughts out of my head and onto something tangible.
So at this point in my college career, since I plan to graduate a year early (fingers crossed), and I am a member of my school’s honors program, I have to make a thesis project. Very similar to what you would find in graduate school. It’s basically a glorified research project of your choosing, judged by a committee of professors and experts, about a very specific topic.
I’ve known since the very beginning of college I would end up having to make a senior thesis. If you’re one of the (very) few people who stick with the entirety of the honors program, it’s a requirement. But as we all know, I am extremely indecisive.
My goal for the summer was to get a majority of my research done so I could whip out a research paper. Seems fairly easy and straightforward, right? I had tentatively started looking into social media’s impact on the 2016 presidential election, had even found a large array of sources, and had started into the topic further.
Except I had absolutely no motivation to do it. Just skimming through the articles felt like a chore. I may have gone through three articles tops. Obviously whatever I was planning to do with my summer to be ultra-productive, never reached fruition. I should have seen it coming a mile away. I mean, right after I finished binging my eleventh television series.
This fall I am taking a thesis prep course to get students in the mindset of starting their research projects, picking a topic and a committee. Students can actually finish the class early if they have a solid plan already in place before the end of the semester. Which despite only being one credit hour, is a very tempting offer. So I’ve been back at it again trying to conjure up a thesis idea.
A major reason why I’m rambling on today is because all involve my blog. I mean, if I’m already here writing about 5000 words a week, I might as well put it good use, right?
If I went in a more research-heavy direction, it would probably be something about how blogging affects journalism, or what type of content engages followers most and draws more traffic in. I mean, that could probably be fairly interesting.
I think ideally I want to focus more on the content of what I post. More of a collection of personal essays revolving around one of the major topics I usually discuss, like eating disorder recovery or depression or veganism. Just my thoughts and words on these ideas I’m so passionate about. Like so many other bucket lists, I have always wanted to publish my work, preferably a book. While it’s not exactly tailored toward hard news journalism or anything, I know writing is my strong suit. And if I want to dedicate a year of my time toward a project, I want to do something that will keep my interest that long. I mean, I’m still here writing here, so I think that’s a good sign.
Everything comes back to the fact you have to listen to your passions and intuition. People will try and point in whatever direction they think is best, and they can provide valuable insight for you. But it’s ultimately up to you. Even if you decide to do something completely unexpected, if you have passion and ambition behind it, I see no reason why you shouldn’t. That’s what people and professionals should be interested in most. Sure, maybe you can whip out a great research paper without much effort. That looks great on a resume or in a portfolio. If people ask you to discuss your work, however, you’ll lack that spark of life and excitement you gain from something you really love.
This inner dilemma is inevitable when you want to put academic and professional interest toward an activity that others think is “just a hobby.” It’s not a typical path. It might not make the most money. Of course you should be realistic, but if you’re willing to work hard and fight for what you truly want, go for it. Those are the people I admire most. I could honestly care less about geniuses who can earn a fortune from developing some mind-blowing scientific theory or technology, but if it came easily to them, if they don’t find joy from it, if they’re just in it for the money, I find it hard to respect them. It’s the people who work hard every single day, who face those challenges and obstacles head on, who might stumble a few times, who make their dreams reality on their time frame, those are the people worthy of genuine praise.
With all of that said, I’m stuck at a crossroads right now deciding which path will be best for me. I have so many ideas and can get distracted easily from pinpointing a concise thesis to follow. But I know whatever I end up choosing, I want to be able to put my personal stamp on it and be beyond proud of my work. I want to reflect on this paper or book and know that I did something amazing. Something that filled me with passion. And hopefully that can help me find a career that fills me with that same passion on a daily basis. I’m thinking ahead of myself. The future is overwhelming. Just kidding, everyday work can be overwhelming enough. I know I’ll end up where I should be. But I’m thankful I have the loved ones and readers supporting me through this crazy thing called life.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie