As was probably quite telling from my presentation, my project has gone through a bit of a rollercoaster over the past week and as I didn’t really have enough time to explain it then, I thought it would be worth talking about in my final blog post of the semester.
It all started when I visited Bernhard’s office hours last week on Thursday. Blissfully ignorant, I was in the midst of a statistics and coding deadline (I know numbers – gross), which was also due on Tuesday. Given my general preference of words over numbers and relative lack of skill with computers, let alone statistical coding, I had been rather preoccupied most of last week, only doing limited research ‘as a break’ throughout the week. So when I approached Bernhard on Thursday afternoon I had a lot of ideas but very little in the way of structure. And if I were going to be honest, I’d basically come to him with a long list of my favourite beauty queens and a few overarching themes. After I had presented everything I had researched in a quick 15 minutes spiel that essentially consisted of the random connections between readings I had made in my mind and the rabbit holes I’d fallen down on the internet during my research, he sort of looked at me and said something along the lines of, “have you considered a dissertation?” Because as we started ascribing arbitrary word counts to the different sections, e.g. 1000 words for the introduction, 1500 for the first section on transnational actors etc., I started to realise I would only really be able to talk about 2, maybe 3 at the most, beauty queens in the 5,000 words we have for this essay.
This made me deeply, deeply upset.
I had about 6-8 favourite queens I wanted to talk about and those were only the ones who had made the shortlist. I was also being difficult as I had my mind set on writing an essay and was quite opposed to anything else. A dissertation also wasn’t really an option for me, as I have to write a dissertation for Geography in the second semester and I think two dissertations in one semester would quite possibly been the end of me. But above all else, I really didn’t want to give up my beauty queens at the end of this semester.
So I went to speak to the oracle of module choices, Mr Derek Patrick. He made me aware of the possibility of doing a ‘History Project’, which consists of an 8,000-word essay (75%) and a presentation (25%) in the first semester, (which sounds an awful lot like a dissertation considering my geography one will only be 7,000 words but who am I to say). Ergo, here I am today about to embark on my final year where I will write two (sort of) dissertations in my final year. Yay.
But all in all I managed to solve the problem I had about too few words this semester, by essentially delaying this problem into next semester, where I’ll probably find myself in the same situation come November and end up deciding to write a PHD and dedicating my life to the Miss World beauty pageant all because of this one module I took in my third year of my undergraduate degree.
Future aside, what this means for me now in the next few weeks is that I need to write another project proposal that gives me enough scope for further research next semester but also is detailed enough to land me a decent mark this semester, whilst constantly keeping in the back of my mind the looming danger of self-plagiarism and the perils of the ominous TGAP. Easy.