Novel Ideas : On The Fence
It was pretty clear after just a few weeks of classes that I didn’t know what I wanted to study. While I find literacy interesting, I realized that I might want to dabble in other areas of interest and change to focusing on something else.
Somehow I thought that everyone walked into their doctoral work with a very clear idea of what they wanted to study. I thought I was the only person on the fence. Walking into class the first week didn’t help matters much, either. My classmates seemed so confident in their research interests — and many seem to already know oodles about these fields. Since I don’t have a master’s in education, I feel like I don’t know anything about anything (more on that in a later post).
After a conversation with my advisor yesterday, though, I’m feeling much better. She told me not to worry about the people who seem so confident in their research interests, and that most students are unsure at the beginning or change their minds in the first year once they learn more about different subfields. I think I knew that on some level, but I’m letting myself get psyched out. We’re grad students — sometimes we puff out our feathers and talk a big game. My advisor sent me out to talk to other faculty about some of my interests and do some reading on a few new topics, so I look forward to a semester of exploring.
I discussed a few other areas of interest in my statement of purpose, so these are the areas I’m turning back to for my exploration. I’ve been steered toward literacy because of my background in school library media, but it’s not the only thing I’d want to learn about in depth. Currently, I’m looking into middle schools, teacher education, and gender studies…while also keeping English/Language Arts instruction and technology/social media on the table. Gender studies is the current front-runner, but I’ll keep y’all posted as I learn more about each.
I don’t know how other fields do it, but I’m glad that education lets me start my doctoral work on the fence. Indecisive is my middle name, so please know that this won’t be my last post about struggling to make decisions (I’m working on that…it’s sort of a professional flaw). And maybe a semester of exploration will lead me right back to ”just” studying literacy…you never know!
What do YOU think I should study? Have you ever been on the fence about such a decision?