Monday, February 1, 2010

The "C" Word

Candidacy. The big fat "C" word I both dreaded yet embraced. Yep, wasn't able to get my proposal approved by the deadline, therefore I have to go into candidacy for the summer. At first I was freaking out and getting really upset. Then I calmed down, and remembered I was anticipating this. I met with my project director late, and my proposal was more like a a draft than a solid academic proposal. I didn't get the email with the criticism and pointers until today, despite the fact the time stamp says Saturday. I'm very irritated about that. I was a little mad at Dustin who I force to check and write (while I dictate) my email when I'm anxious about something. He checked it both Saturday and Sunday, saying there was no email from my prof. I really couldn't fault him though; it's more the email system. I couldn't have sufficiently revised it by the deadline anyway.

Anyway, it gives me more time to get my thoughts together. My director says my topic is still too broad and needs focusing. My thesis is still not clear. I'm driving myself crazy trying to think of an original thesis that factors in all that's been done before without ripping anyone's idea off. Supposedly, as a Masters student I'm not expected to come up with any brilliant, earth-shattering new ideas, just expected to be able to show I can enter in an academic conversation. Really, 85% the time I feel like my knowledge of proper academic/scholarly procedures is lacking. I'm just kinda force to write something I've never done before with only the most general of outlines and my writing is supposed to be genius. I have written a proposal for a research paper maybe four times now, and only two were actually formal. I remember the days when writing 10 pages was hard; now I think what wouldn't I give for 10-13 pages instead of 25-30. This is just a long, slightly painful, learning process. 

I'm just thinking of all things, I had to fall in love with and pick Medievalism. Why couldn't I do 19th c. frontier fiction or women writers (which I also love)? I have several awesome papers for it, and it's so much easier. a friend and fellow grad student once said about the grad school and paper writing experience, "It's like some weird fetish; it's painful but you keep doing it over and over because after you finish you feel really good." It's the tried and true love-hate cliche. Lately, my relationship with academia has been more on the hate side. I'm wishing I chose Chretien Knight of the Cart instead of The Examinations of Anne Askew for class. I needed and wanted to do something different than Arthur; since my interest besides Arthur is early modern women writers, I figured Anne was the way to go. I chose a tough topic. Nevertheless, I'm going to work hard and make this an awesome paper.

Candidacy isn't so bad. I have a good friend who's in it right now, granted he doesn't have to pay for it since he has a teaching assistantship. Another friend of mine was telling me she wished she was in candidacy for the summer because she could give two shits about her CP. It's not like I'm going to be in candidacy for 5 years. I made it through my Bachelors in 4 years, taking 15-18 hours, and changing my major. I'm done with all the coursework for my Masters, just need more time getting my culminating project together. I might consider taking another course, since I didn't do so hot last semester. It depends on the cost of candidacy + class tuition and if there are any Med-Ren courses available in the first term. I'm feeling a little self conscious and defensive right now.

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