This or that?

At some point, usually after qualifying exams have happened, every doctoral student has to begin writing his or her dissertation, which will ultimately end up as a lovely dust-covered leather-bound book somewhere deep in the stacks of his or her respective university library (this is how one “contributes to human knowledge” officially). But you have to start thinking about what, exactly, it is you’re going to write well before those qualifying exams occur; in our program, for example, you have to develop some sort of focus statement document thing roughly a year into your studies, and that is essentially the time when you decide what it is that you’re going to research and write about. This is the point where your professional hat is more or less hung on the coat tree of your permanent focus, to use a horribly tortured metaphor.

I’ve been thinking about this for a bit because I have two rather divergent fields in mind that both fit under the umbrella of “Communication and Society” (though apparently at some point in the last month that was changed to “Media Studies,” unbeknownst to pretty much all of us), and yet they really don’t relate to each other at all. Thus my dilemma–which do I ultimately pick?

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Enter Eugene

Prior to my arrival in Eugene this past Saturday, I had precious little information to go on regarding life in the town aside from what I had gleaned from my two or three prior visits, what I had read on the Daily Emerald‘s website in the meantime, and what I had been told from faculty and staff after being accepted into the SOJC’s PhD program.

As a knowledge fanatic I had also done as much research as I could, too, poring over the Eugene and Lane County Wikipedia pages, not to mention UO’s “Campus Profile,” where I learned that (not including faculty and staff) the school is nearly as big as the town that I grew up in in North Carolina. (You can read the Wikipedia page there that I’ve linked to in order to get a sense of the typical small town mythos that plagues the place.)

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Hello again

If someone gave awards out for the most inconsistent bloggers on the planet, I’m fairly certain I would come close to the top of the list of honors–I started blogging (personally) as an undergraduate at Wake Forest University between 1999 and 2003, prior to the development of tools like WordPress or Blogger. I actually hand-coded all of my new entries into HTML and manually updated my archives, just because at the time there was no easier/better way of doing it.

There were several other personal blogs that roared to life but then sputtered, each with a fairly interesting-sounding name–Ryan Sometimes, 86th Street… and most recently, Gaussian Blur.

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