on being naive

Get work done at school? Ha. I went in today feeling all excited and refreshed, ready to get a new start on the thesis. But once I arrived at school everything changed – it was that eye opening wakeup call that some might call enlightenment. “What the hell am I doing here?” I wondered.

Then I ran into some old classmates, chatted for an hour, had a coffee, walked around, talked some more, and then some more. By the end of the day I’d discussed my research topic with three people, complained endlessly about our teachers and classes, and well… achieved little I had planned [but talking about ones proposal really helps solidify ones position and considering I need to rewrite my introduction this is a great thing].

At the same time, walking around and talking to people can pay off in unexpected ways [thank god, or what good would ethnography be?]. Through my martial arts class today I met someone who became a facebook friend. Through that facebook link, I met one of her friends, who is in the publishing industry. He worked at a printing press that couldn’t compete in the new online publishing economy, and he specifically blames the internet for his companies troubles. I’ll be interviewing him over Skype sometime next week.  [he lives a couple hundred km's away].

So maybe it wasn’t planned, but it’s going somewhere!  Reminds me of a proverb written on a t-shirt I bought in Thailand,

“All those who wander,

are not lost.”

[after writing the first half, I looked the poem up on the crystal ball. A quick Google attributes this to J.R.R. Tolkien! (slightly different, so who knows if they are really related.)

All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king.[1]

(and let’s reference the great Wikipedia for this one)

Tolkien’s version leaves the possibility that some wanderers really are lost… Readers can decide.

Onwards then! A thesis… no… a journey awaits!

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Ah…graduate school. How I miss it. Sounds like a productive day.

    Reply

  2. Complaining about your teachers? Good thing I am keeping a “watchful” eye here then :D

    Reply

  3. One of the many cool things about ethnography is that we can take advantage of wandering around and we often make serendipitous encounters which are beneficial to our research projects. One problem with ethnography is that, sometimes, it doesn’t feel like work.
    Otherwise, grad students in general tend to fall pray to all sorts of neuroses. The “I wanted to accomplish all of this today but it didn’t turn out the way I planned” is very common. Christian Bégin at UQÀM has a lot to say about this.

    Speaking of your work on anthrobloggers, have you met Laurie?

    Reply

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