Sometimes it feels good to just let go and admit that you’re wrong- that all the energy you put into something can sometimes lead to nothing and that all the steps you made forward have just taken you back to the beginning. It’s cathartic- because there’s a certain release in “failure” that you don’t get from anything else- because even success doesn’t always free you from self-doubt, dead ends or the realisation that there’s a certain amount of conviction missing from something you don’t wholly believe or believe in.
This isn’t some kind of personal diatribe or call to arms for self-pity- well, okay, for those of you who know me, it’s always personal- but hear me out.
As a follow on from my last post, I’ve been struggling for months to make the pieces fit with regard to my dissertation. I thought I ironed everything out and knew where I wanted to go- what my approach was going to be and how I planned to move forward. But there was still this unrelenting weight I felt tugging at me, like a strand of hair caught on the inside of a shirt that you can feel tickling your skin but impossible to find. I’ve just been looking forward, trying to shape the end of the research and talking to other people about what I wanted to do rather than producing any work. It’s one thing to be interested and excited about the concepts you plan to investigate and another to actually start mapping out how you will progress- and I’ve been stuck doing the latter for far too long. Tracing stencils doesn’t make someone an artist, and planning research without structure doesn’t make me a researcher.
So I’m scrapping everything. Don’t get me wrong, I still think military children and their learning experiences are largely ignored and under-researched (see, even I’m ignoring them now) and could provide a wealth of data to be used within that specific field of education- but it’s beyond me at this point to dive in and feel confident that the information I seek and the results I analyse will be able to provide anything meaningful. In short, I suppose I’m trying to say that I know I don’t have enough clarity to do it well, so I’m not doing it at all- but I think someone with the right vision and understanding should.
There IS something I think I can do well, though, and that’s getting back to my own area of expertise- students utilising library spaces and resources. I’m using that term loosely because, in case you’re not aware, much like the word, “catholic,” the library comes in big “L” and little “L” form. I like to focus on the little “L” form- where any space students use to access, interact and engage with information becomes part of the realm with which I exist in as a professional. Much like my previous proposal, I still plan to include a bit of discourse analysis because I think it’s important- and because I love educational theory, but I can better compartmentalise my ideas and objectives by observing and engaging with the kinds of participants I’m already well-versed on. Perhaps that’s a cop-out- bringing my professional life into my academic pursuits, but I’m fairly certain most students write their dissertations on topics that hit, in some way, close to home.
So stay tuned because I might just be on to something…and no, it doesn’t involve Lego.