~Awaiting adventure~ with some of my housemates!
Now that I’m halfway through the fall semester of my senior year (!!!) I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about the somewhat limited time that I have left at Carnegie Mellon (which is still really hard to believe). When I started off my senior year a few months ago, I promised myself that I would make the most of my time left at Carnegie Mellon, and enjoy every moment I spend here, whether that be in class, at work, or just at hanging out at home with my wonderful housemates (2 of which are pictured above). As cheesy as that sounds, I have actually benefited a great deal from having this perspective. I am not as stressed as I usually am, mainly because I am truly enjoying the work that I’m doing it. Investing time and energy into my classes and extra curricular activities can be overwhelming and stressful, but since I’ve made more of an effort to enjoy every moment I have left here, I’ve grown to be even more passionate about my courses and activities on campus. I’m incredibly grateful for CMU, my professors and my friends for giving me this kind of environment to thrive in; as a senior, it is making my last semesters extremely valuable. I can only hope that I keep up this attitude for the remaining semester and a half that I have left as an undergrad.
As I walk around campus, I become more sentimental about the adventures that I’ve had but also the adventures that are to come. I hate not knowing where I’ll be a year from now, but I’ve started to embrace the unknown. The future is scary, but exciting.
In the meantime, I am waiting for IRB approval for the online survey that I will send to French and Québecois participants. I’m really looking forward to reading the results from these surveys to see if my archival and library research about La Loi Toubon and La Charte de la Langue Française corresponds with contemporary opinion about these language policies. I am also starting to engage in more archival research and starting to write my introductory sections to my thesis.
Thanks for reading!
When I started my research over the summer, I wrote about how difficult it was to adjust to a new schedule of doing research full time. Now, a week and a half into the school year, I find myself adjusting (again) to a new schedule – one that involves classes, campus activities and working on my senior thesis. Initially, the prospect of writing a thesis in addition to my schoolwork seemed daunting and overwhelming.
I decided to give myself at least two weeks off from researching and found this to be very beneficial. I was able to figure out what days I had more free time, so I could more easily schedule time to work on my thesis. I am immensely grateful that I participated in the Dietrich Honors Fellowship Program over the past summer – I feel a lot more comfortable going into my senior year knowing that I have a good foundation for moving forward with my research this semester.
Earlier this week, I met with my adviser to see what I was missing. Moving forward, I will work primarily on my survey about La Loi Toubon and La Charte de La Langue Française. This survey will be sent out to participants based in France and Quebec, and will ask general questions about language use, the importance of speaking French in the public sphere and knowledge about La Loi Toubon and La Charte de La Langue Française. I am primarily interested in better gauging contemporary opinion about language use and identity, and am looking forward to evaluating and analyzing my results later this semester.
The soundtrack to my summer
At the end of every semester, I always ask myself, “What did I learn this semester?” This question is applicable to all aspects of my life – academic, personal, social, etc. And so, as I’m wrapping up my summer research, I asked myself the same question: What did I learn this summer?
- Finding the right work space: I’ve learned to accept that there are places where I’m very productive and places where I am not. This summer, I learned that I do my best work when I switch it up. I would spend some mornings at the library, some at Starbucks and some at cafés around CMU’s campus.
- It’s okay to ask for help. When I was about three weeks into my research, I started to experience a lot of self-doubt about my work. I went to multiple sources about this issue, and was given a lot of useful pieces of advice. I learned that it’s okay to have some self-doubt, but that it’s important to keep working.
- Take breaks! I also learned that I was more productive doing research when I took the weekends off to relax, spend time with friends and family and read for pleasure. I even picked up extra work shifts at the campus bookstore, which was more helpful than I could have imagined it would be. Researching alone all day can become fairly isolating, so it was nice to go somewhere in the afternoons where I could interact with people and take a break from focusing on French language policy.
- Music helps. I’ve always listened to music when I do school work, but found it to be extremely helpful in increasing my productivity over the summer. When I find the right playlist or album, I’m really able to focus on my readings and am more motivated to use my time effectively.
I’m really looking forward to applying what I’ve learned about how I work most productively to my academic work this coming fall. I’m also curious to see what rhythm I fall into once classes start up again.
In terms of what I accomplished in relation to my research this summer, I’ve been able to create a Language Policy and Planning timeline for France and Quebec, and now have a theoretical and historical basis for better understanding language policy and nationalism in these two contexts.
Moving forward, I will be reading public debate surrounding La Loi Toubon (1994-France) and La Charte de la Langue Française (1977- Quebec), and sending an online survey to participants in France and Quebec to better gauge contemporary opinion about the French language and its relation to identity. I hope to determine how multiculturalism and globalization are effecting the somewhat homogenous nature of of French and Quebec language legislation.
Thank you for reading, and I’m really looking forward to how my research will develop over the coming academic year!