Unexpected Encouragement

I quit my job in the costume shop this week. It’s been coming for a while – I’m just too busy with non-profit and school stuff to really do it anymore. I had to go in to visit the technical director to turn in my keys, and he sat me down and asked “So, how are you going to pay the bills?”

Unexpectedly, we got into a long conversation about my academic goals and interests, as well as my interests outside of the classroom. He asked me about my research from this past summer, and I explained it to him, and we talked about the fact that I’m studying abroad and what I might study while in India. I told him that I was thinking of using the extended field study from India as my Honor’s Thesis, and he thought that sounded smart.

Blah, blah, blah. Basically, about halfway through the conversation he asked me: “So, you’re applying for a Fulbright scholarship, right?”

Now, this completely blindsided me. But he went on to say that he thought I had the brain capacity for it, and that with my research track record, I’d have a good chance of getting one. He told me not to get too Minnesota-nice and sell myself short, and that the worst they could do is say no. Basically, he seemed to think that with my resume, it was ridiculous that I wasn’t already planning on applying.

Not only had I not been thinking about Fulbright (all that seriously), but I had not anticipated such an encouraging reception. I had also not expected that he would sit me down and push me that much. It was an uncomfortable experience, in a way, because he was basically telling me that I’d have to go farther with everything I’ve been thinking of doing.

So now I’m in a bit of a pickle. It would be best for me to apply to the Fulbright after I graduate (deadlines are in October, which will be right in the middle of my time in India). It would be a lot easier to apply through Hamline, but I’ll probably do that the October after I graduate. This still means I need to start the process right now.

That is, if I do decide to do this.

… but I’m closer to deciding to do this than deciding not to do this.

If I do apply for a Fulbright, I want to have a really, really good idea what I’m going to do. Which means that I need to start hunting down preliminary research topics.

These are some things that come immediately to mind:

1. Study of Climate Change on Citizens in the South Pacific or Bangladesh

2. Study of Climate Refugee Programs or Lack Thereof in Australia and/or New Zealand

3. Documentation and Study of Street Poetry (country pending … I need to pursue this, find out where street poetry is prevalent and why, but it would be awesome)

So now I have to do some preliminary research to figure out how I would go about those projects in particular.

I also need to get my ass in gear for Collaborative Research this summer, as well as what I’ll research when I’m in India. My application is in, now I just need to be accepted to the program … ugh … applications get me nervous. ANYWAY, if I want my research from India to be my honor’s thesis, I have to apply for the honor’s program this spring. Which means I need to know what I’ll be researching. Which means I have to know that really soon.

Despite this being a really bad week (two weeks) for my anxiety, this is all very exhilarating. I think that’s telling about what I should be doing with my life. Apparently research is something I’m really good at, and something that excites me beyond belief. I also really am developing a passion for teaching, and have already thought of several classes I would like to teach and how I would teach.

Who should get her PhD and becomea  professor? Oh, that would be me.

In sum: this has been a crazy week that has shifted my goals a lot. Head is still spinning, but this makes sense …

Peace out, y’all.