Is This In My Head? I Don’t Know What to Think.
Someday, my thesis will have a happy ending just like Taylor Swift’s “Love Story.” (Yes, my undergraduate degree is in literature, and I do know how Romeo and Juliet actually ends. I just really love the song, and I’m in a very Valentine’s Day mood!) After all, she had only three minutes and fifty-five seconds to capture the spirit of Shakespeare’s timeless tale and integrate her reimagined ending. The time crunch of working with what’s available and your own insight and perspective being imperative to the overall completion of the project is essentially what my thesis project is shaping up to be. Time is something that’s been stressing me out lately, on a grander scale than just thesis completion. It sounds silly, especially typing it out and posting where so many people can see it, but I feel like I’m falling behind in life in so many ways, even though I know I still have so many places to go and so much time ahead of me. All the things I love that I would normally fill this space writing about briefly, like my runs or Riveters and Devils hockey or the Mets have been really hard for me to enjoy lately. In the oddest sense, it feels like I don’t deserve to enjoy anything fun because I don’t have that perfect full-time job or amazing burst of inspiration to do something spectacular like write a whole book. I find that I’m tuned out most of the time and I don’t know how to plug back in.
Life almost feels like it is at a standstill with everything that is out of my control and all of the waiting I’ve been doing lately; waiting for someone to return the book I need to the library, waiting in traffic, waiting to hear about whether or not I’m even going to get an interview for a job … The list of things I’m constantly waiting on could stretch the length of this blog post, so I’ll cut it short and instead offer you a glimpse into how both my thesis and research are regressing and progressing!
How Do I Know When It’s Love?
Just like how Van Halen is on the cusp, but questioning, “When It’s Love,” I find myself looking at my thesis and wondering “how do I know I’m progressing and doing well?” I went the “conventional” route with the research and added my own spin by deciding to galvanize a field often forgotten about or left undiscovered, which would be the equivalent of putting my heart on the line. But, just like everything else I cherish lately, it’s been a rolling stone when I need something rock steady. I pulled myself through the introduction and literature review, and now I’m at a standstill with the methodology; there’s just no focus to it, and nothing to engage with, creating a situation somewhat similar to wondering whether it’s worth chasing down and going after. It’s a tangled web that temporarily hurts to look at or even think about, and I guess I’m going to have to revise my thesis timeline and give myself a few extra days until this upcoming Friday rather than Wednesday to get it where I want it to be. Most of the issue seems to be trying to justify the approach I’m taking with the case study by finding something similar or a researcher’s name to attach to the way I’m using a case study to validate my approach. But, I think that after running through the checklist, it’s nothing but love for forensic linguistics in my heart, and no matter how long it takes, I’ll get to where I need to be!
Dr. Zamora’s idea of creating chapters for my thesis is something that’s also going to help expedite the process and allow for greater exploration and explication of a very vast and complicated topic. Perhaps instead of puzzling over the methodology, I’ll dive into the content and then circle back around.
In the midst of this lover’s quarrel, I found that I needed to still work on something thesis-related, or else this odd feeling of guilt started creeping in. I figured if I couldn’t rationalize or organize my methodology section, maybe someone else could show me how, either by doing it, explaining it, or both. And that is how instead of revising anything I’ve written or trying to recalibrate my methodology section, I came up with a short story, the first to star Rem Shepard, the calm, fringe-bearing forensic linguist. (You’ve definitely spent too much time with me if you can figure out where this name came from.) Depending on how I feel, I might share it on my blog at some point in the future. In fact, maybe I could publish a few through the semester in a serial novel(la) format… I found that in writing creatively on something I’ve researched so thoroughly and so badly want to work with one day, there’s a palpable spirit to the piece, and the pacing and tone are similar to Robin Cook’s, one of my favorite medical fiction authors.
Hopefully, Rem will make a public appearance before the semester ends under better circumstances than thesis stagnation, possibly even with a new name, and definitely with better writing. Now, onto my Research Days progress, which is far more compelling!
If You Change Your Mind, I’m The First In Line!
Nothing cheers you up and keeps the Valentine’s Day mood alive quite like ABBA, and for someone trying something that’s trying to break into a field and contribute some fresh scholarship, “Take A Chance On Me,” is right on the money.
Before delving into the research like I thought I would, I figured that it made sense to see how I could pull off the mathematical aspect of the research design I outlined last week. The good news is that I retained most of my statistics knowledge and prowess, and I did pretty decently on some practice problems! But, it would be way too time-consuming and complicated to do all the math by hand, and if I follow through on my plan to poll as many Kean students, faculty, and staff as possible in a convenience sample, I’ll never make the March 25th submission deadline! I’m going to either have to take the time to make a lot of trips to the one computer lab equipped with SPSS on campus, figure out if Computer Services can somehow give me this software for free, pay for it myself, find an open-source tool, or scrap the math entirely. I’ll figure it out at some point this week.
Beyond just crunching numbers and pointing out flaws, I started combing through some of the literature on the CSI effect, and it is looking pretty sparse! There were only a few academic articles that I was able to gain access to, and I’m still combing the electronic book database, but so far, it isn’t looking too extensive. So, it looks like the bulk of my paper is going to be some integration of that, but a strong use of the case study and content analysis approach yet again to highlight the difference between television versus reality in terms of investigation and policing. I’ve narrowed down my shows for comparison parameters based upon the factors of age, relevance, and popularity based upon Neilsen ratings, the duration of the series, and the relevance it will have to the audience reading my findings. Here’s a list of shows I’ll be working my way through:
- NYPD Blue
- CSI Universe (Original + Reboot (CSI: Vegas) CSI: Miami, CSI: NY)
- Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
- Blue Bloods
- Criminal Minds
Thankfully, I’ve seen most of these already, or at least parts. The goal of having this list isn’t to just pick out and watch a ton of television without feeling guilty, but to see what could possibly be shaping the perspective of others, and to help with creating an unbiased and informed survey. If I can get a handle on the different personalities, resources, and aspects that are connotated with investigation and evidence, then I can easily substantiate or disprove my claim, and explain the rationale more thoroughly.
Finally, on this front, I’m elated that as per Dr. Zamora, I can fold this research into my thesis as yet another chapter. Things can only move forward from here!
What More In The Name of Love?
There are few bands I love more than U2, and no song to better summarize what’s at stake going forward than “Pride (In the Name Of Love).” After all, isn’t that what is most at stake here? I have a litany of self-set and official deadlines, but that isn’t going to do much except generate stress and unhappiness. So, here’s a three date list:
- March 25th – Deadline to submit poster + pre-recorded presentation for Research Days; totally OK to work on this up to the last moment.
- April 10th – The date I hope to have all the parts of my thesis completed by, so I have a substantial amount of time to edit,
- May 5 – No matter what, I will submit my work on time!
As for the feelings of helplessness and worry about not being on track or running out of time, there’s nothing else I can think of doing that could be more effective than speaking to a professional or the school’s counseling center and finding a healthy path forward.
I Really Love The Things That You Do
It’s only fitting to share a sentiment of love if I’m posting on Valentine’s Day, and in such close proximity to our friend-a-versary. From the moment we met at eighteen, nothing about my life was ever the same. I never thought that I would ever get to feel what it was like to be loved unconditionally or have someone who even just the thought of could instantly get me to smile. There’s no one else whose messages I can read in exactly their voice, and picture clear as day what sort of face they made while typing. A million memories came to the surface of my mind just typing the above two sentences. Braiding your hair in the middle of class because we had both read ahead and weren’t missing anything. Relying on your dog in his infinite cuteness for serotonin. Waking up at seven in the morning to the tune of “Here Comes the Sun.” Asking you to wake me up for class earlier than that because I was scared I’d miss it, and having you just casually lean over me and go “Hey, wake up. You told me to wake you up.” Going to the dining hall at separate times and scaring the staff into thinking something was going on and we were on bad terms when it was just a schedule conflict.
It means more than you’ll ever realize when you recognize a name when I’m ranting about the Riveters or Mets or the Devils, or remember who plays what position or how many skaters are on the ice because it means you were really listening to something that I care about, even if you don’t. I couldn’t imagine dancing around to old Disney soundtracks and meme songs with anyone else. Anything peach or peppermint scented instantly brings you to mind. There’s tremendous comfort in feeling like I’m getting a hug from you every time I pull one of the crewnecks you gave me on and grinning to myself every time I see what looks like one of your signature steel grey sweatshirts out in public. You’re the only person I’ll ever enjoy everyone always expecting to see with me, and vice versa. After all, I wouldn’t be who I am without being around you so often!
I find myself thinking about all the different ways we say I love you without actually saying the three words; pictures of your dog, memes of things we say throughout the day, sharing our snacks, strong hugs, building playlists for one another, leaving the desk lamp on when one of us wasn’t ready for bed, brushing our teeth together at night, sharing a textbook for class, avoiding the word specific, getting the other to try all sorts of tea, and spilling all the beans about weird nightmares where the other was the star. (I still laugh about the time I ran into the common area to make sure we were still friends after a weird break-up dream.) There’s all sorts of love, but nothing like the kind you share with someone you can look at and say, “You’re My Best Friend,” and have it mean so much. I don’t think there’s a way to fully capture the feeling, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt that you’re the Monica to my Joey, the elephant to my fox, the Chen to my DaCosta, and my drop in the ocean.
You’re forever in my heart, and you’ll always have the best of me. I love you, Jamie!