T: Amazing Husband ST: Three-year-old Wonder Prof. G: Advisor I Prof. C: Advisor II Julie: Stylish Sister Rob: Awesome Brother Belle: Our Cat Bill: Grumbling BIL Rita: Uncomplicated SIL SMU: Smallish Midwestern University Doctoral University: where I got my Ph.D.
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Quote of the Day
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
"In the Field"
There are five major subfields in my discipline, and doing fieldwork is not required for any of them but is highly recommended for one, the one in which I do most of my work. I'm not sure how many graduate students in my subfield actually do fieldwork (especially now that so much information is available online and so many people can be reached via telephone or email), and indeed I wasn't sure if I needed to do it at all. This trip, for example, wasn't planned until right around the time I started blogging, in late July. In fact, the reason I started a blog was so that I could work through my feelings about doing fieldwork while having a young child, husband, mortgage, etc. -- that original blog was quickly deleted, however, in favor of this one, where I could talk about my journey through academia more generally. As I've mentioned before, however, I do have a separate blog that I've devoted entirely to this experience. I write on it daily for my friends and family to read, but I also write it to remember what I did each day.
I will never forget what I did today.
Yes, I could easily be at home right now, eating dinner with T and ST. I could have spent the day reading documents off the internet databases I frequent, I could have sent emails to important people for information, I could have checked books out of the library. Instead, today was spent LIVING what I study, actually being a part of something I've previously only observed from the outside.
I can now say without a doubt that fieldwork is absolutely, 100%, unquestionably necessary in my subfield. There is simply no substitute for what I experienced today. It's not even that it was so relevant to my dissertation work -- rather, it was relevant to my entire career studying this subject. I understand now why Prof. G. was always so insistent that I do this. I emailed him after my experience today and received a reply that made the entire trip worth it a million times over: "I am so proud of you."