Hello there, everyone!
So I am entering the final stretch of my summer thesis work, and, truth be told, I’m a little wiped out. This upcoming week is about to remind me of the meaning of “hell week” – I have my final presentation and my twenty-page thesis first draft due Monday, and a test or a project due every day Tuesday – Friday for my other summer classes. On the upside, my thesis work is progressing nicely, and I have 10 pages typed up, and will be able to complete the next 10 by Monday without too much trouble. Though this weekend may be one long stare into the the white glare of my computer screen, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m fortified with snacks and caffeinated beverages and seven-hour study playlists, and this thesis will bow to my will.
I’m also in the process of planning for my final presentation for Monday. I think of all the Fellows, my project is definitely the most traditional. While the other lovely and brilliant ladies in the program are designing their own studies, producing creative works in various storytelling mediums, and creating new areas of investigation all together, I’m pretty much writing one giant paper about a topic that I think is fascinating. I am not at all trying to knock my work – I think my project focuses on an area that absolutely merits further study and analysis, and is pretty cool in its own right. But while my peers will walk in on Monday and explain their processes in creating their innovative methodologies in their projects, I will be more focused on what I’ve learned and what I plan to say with the knowledge that I’ve gained.
The only problem with that is that it’s taken me two months to develop the vocabulary and the understanding that I have now, and even so, I feel that I don’t have full mastery of either of these two very complex groups. I think you could study either Hezbollah and the IRA for years and still be surprised by them on occasion. And beside that looming learning curve, I believe it will take me at least another semester to fully articulate what exactly I want to say with the ideas that I have absorbed.
So on Monday, I need to walk into a room with twenty plus people, all of whom will be staring at me, and articulate some complex and difficult ideas in ten minutes. And though I have on occasion demonstrated wit, I have yet to mastery the brevity bit that lies at its core. It’s hard for me to keep my accounts of even my simpler opinions to ten minutes, so keeping two months of academic crash-courses down to that and no more will be a pretty trick. But such is life. Part of the reason I started this project in the first place is because I wanted to learn how to explain the complex and difficult-to-understand parts of the world and its foreign policy to people who don’t necessarily have a profound personal interest in those subjects. A key component of explaining anything well is being able to do it quickly and clearly. So, this is good practice.
But to get to the practicing part, I need to finish the writing part. To that end, I’m off. Have a lovely weekend!