Thesis Progress: For some reason when I envisioned my thesis process, I saw myself just manically whipping through my work. The words would just be flowing through my fingertips with ease and grace. Don’t ask me why I created this picture, for some reason I just did. Needless to say, I have not been manically whipping through my thesis project, but I have been making progress. So far I have successfully implemented my organization system and I’ve been following it for the past two weeks. There were some minor interruptions and switches, but not too many to throw me off track.
Whenever I feel myself beginning to feel either overwhelmed or anxious, I allow myself to take a much needed break so that I can breathe and calm my nerves. As I mentioned in a previous post the hardest part of the process has been finding a balance between my personal school work and the classes I’m taking, as well as with my job and the amount of work I need to complete there.
I set a goal to find 2-3 articles/resources a week to add to my literature review and I’ve been able to do that. I started my project back in the summer and was able to complete my introduction chapter and start my 1st chapter. Now, I am close to finishing my 2nd chapter and should be done by the weekend, yay! If I follow the timeline I created I should be able to complete have of my project’s chapters by the end of this semester, leaving the other half of the chapters to be completed next semester. The process may be slow and steady but I am inching closer and closer to the finish line everyday.
Mary Kate gave us an excellent presentation last week. I had the pleasure of hearing about her work during our summer writreat and it is great! I genuinely want to be able to read her finished project. I am excited to hear the rest of the presentations as I know they will be great!
This week I was armed with my handy organizers and calendar/time-table and it was the first practice I had with following a semi-routine. Things did not go as seamlessly as I had anticipated but the work I put into organizing myself last week, really alleviated some of anxiety this week. That’s not to say all of my anxiety was alleviated, but I did feel less anxious. My semi-routine faced some disruptions this week that I had to try and work out and around. The interruptions were a bit frustrating but if I’ve learned anything this year, its how quickly things can change. So instead of being frustrated and anxious for being off scheduled, I rolled with the changes and kept on pushing. I may not have gotten as much work done as I wanted to but I am proud of the progress I am steadily making.
One thing I did improve on this week was the balance between dedicated to my research and my actual writing. I see what Dr. Zamora meant when she said even if you are writing a creative piece, research can most definitely help you in your process. I’ve read some fascinating things that will for sure shape the way I write as I continue to work on my project.
Included in my process this week was having an after school chill session with a few of my students. This was the highlight of my process as it was just the break and inspiration I needed! I miss seeing their faces and having them bombard my classroom during lunch and after school.
Non-thesis related: It’s fall, my favorite time of the year and I am loving it!
Our LibCal session with Craig left me a feeling inspired about conducting research. I’m one to always look up and research information. If I hear about, read about, or see something that I found interesting, I’m researching it. And whenever I’ve had to do research a project, if the topic was something that I was either interested in or passionate in, I’ve enjoyed it. Luckily my thesis project is both of these things!
Now that I’m settled into work and school, I find myself getting back into the swing of things, or at least the “new normal” swing of things. I’ve created a nice routine to keep me grounded as I handle, school, work, and my personal life. This week I started off with some research for the current topic/chapter in my book that I’m working on and I kind of fell into a rabbit hole. I found myself reading one article, that led me to another article, that led me to a chapter in a book, then to a google search of that book, where I got sidetracked by a related video that took me back to more articles and more chapter… and yeahhhh I think you get the gist. I was about 6 and a half articles, 3 videos, and countless hours of google and database searches in before I realized that I hadn’t set aside any time to do any actual writing for my project. It then became clear that I needed to create some sort of balance between the amount of research I do and the amount of writing my book I do.
I drafted a mini time-table/calendar to organize the hours I will allocate to my research and to my actual writing. At first I wanted to do it on a monthly basis, but I realized that making either a weekly or bi-weekly one would be more practical. In addition to my time-table I also created a goal sheet to hold myself accountable on the process I want to make on my writings and research. So for the week that’s coming up I will utilize my new self-made organizing sheets and tips to keep me on track.
Now that I have arrived, it is time to get started on the work. In my last blog I discussed my thesis project and where my idea/inspiration for my project came from. While the idea is there, I am still in the brainstorming process. I discussed what my project will be in last week’s blog so doing this free write I wanted think and write about what led to my project. Like Dr. Zamora said, our projects should be something that inspire us. So I completed the free-writing exercises that Dr. Zamora assigned my group and it really got my thought and ideas flowing. During my free writing I discovered that the root of my idea was based on equity. I felt the need to create this sort of project because of a lack of resources the young women in my (and others like mine) community had access to.
This idea led me to free write about an idea I’ve been mulling over in my mind for a project. There are many resources that the people in my community are either limited or not available at all.
I’ve been thinking of offering my services to those who need help with resume building, job searching, interview tips, etc. I also want to offer services for students in areas such as tutoring for reading and writing. I also want to include students who may need help in their college process, whether it’s with their applications (personal essay etc), finding the best school for their major, financial aid literacy, and so on.
Again, this idea is rooted in creating some sort of equity within my community. I know too many people who don’t know where to start when they want to find a job. I also know far too many young men who re-enter society after being incarcerated but fail at finding a suitable job. This failure has damaging effects in many ways. I’ve visited the One-Stop Career Center in Newark, and wellllllll. They mean well and the idea behind their work is truly valid, but in my opinion, they missed the mark a little in regards to the valuable help they offer people. While some schools in Newark offer some version of tutoring and college prep services, many of them do not. In the last few years, I’ve had multiple people in my community ask me to help or speak to their child, their niece, nephew, etc. about preparing for college. Either the school did not offer college prep at all, or they did not offer enough. I want to help meet some of these needs and to make the world a better place in my own little pocket/community.
This free write was a great exercise. Not only did it give me a way to think deeply about and expand on project ideas, but it has also led me to consider the next steps for myself. I’m truly inspired by my work and by all the wonderfully talented people I get to work with this semester and I am genuinely so excited to be back this fall. This may not be the ideal way I wanted to work with my peers, but it has been great to see and speak to everyone virtually. I know this will be a challenge, but I welcome it with open arms!
This is the start of my thesis journey. I breathe out a soft sigh of relief. I imagined how I would feel when I finally made it here, and now that I’m here, I’m not sure how I should be feeling. I’m glad to finally have made it here, despite the current conditions we find ourselves in. Virtual teaching and learning is definitely something to get used to, and I am really trying to.
Despite that, I am extremely excited to be back working and in school. I am so excited to get started on my thesis journey. Having figured out in the summer retreat what I want my project to be, I am hyped to get back to working on the project. I’m looking forward to doing all the behind the scenes work such as research that is relevant to my project. I’m almost to the end and as I look back at my journey, I am awed and proud of my progress and I can’t wait to do a total reflection once I am completely finished.
And here’s my this project idea: My project is a sort of mentorship book that will give advice on hard to talk about topics to young adult women of color. My inspiration came from growing up and now working in the inner city. I see the lack of access that many young students have to resources and information that they need. Many students come from single homes with hard working parents that may not have the time to discuss important issues with their child(ren). Many students don’t have anyone to turn to and a large portion of them are misinformed. I will use this book to speak to these young women with the love, compassion and understanding that they are looking for, in the language and that they understand. The topics in my book will be discussed through the lens of my younger self and coupled through the lens of my adult self with new knowledge and experiences.
It has been great seeing and speaking with everyone again. I am excited to begin working with you all!.