feeling a bit bookish...


head in a book © Raffaella Loro

My course went live last night and I am back on the academic train. I plan to spend the remainder of the year immersed in research. I am very excited. It is such a relief to only have to concentrate on school now, instead of balancing both work and studies. I have found that I really dislike having to work and study at the same time. I don't know how other people do it so effectively. It's not as if I had a job where I was being paid merely to be a physical presence behind a desk. I had obligations and responsibilities. The first few weeks of any new course I was always rather diligent, but eventually work would take over and school would get pushed to the side. Well no more.

When I first started blogging back in 2004 it was sort of an experiment to see how this tool might affect how I approached learning and research. Setting up my own blog was a way of immersing myself in the content of a my then current research paper (I was writing about the impacts of blogging on the academic community). Academic research has typically been cloaked in secrecy. This makes sense when people gain recognition from their ideas and it can be the race to be the first to publish about a certain new concept. Then of course there is also the issue of plagiarism. However, I was interested to see how academics blogging about their research or their experiences was shaping the educational community. I started university before the whole wikipedia craze took hold and finding information online was still a bit of a crapshoot. So it's been amazing to see how rapidly the initial approach to research has changed. Although I still have to refer to journals and books for the bulk of my research, I am also able to find additional perspectives (albeit a little less formal) from these same authors from their blogs or websites. It could be the content that I'm researching (I'm a communications scholar after all), but it seems that people are more willing to share information, share about their struggles, and give hints about new topics of research or projects. People are still conscious of keeping some ideas to themselves, because there is that risk of revealing too much. There just seems to be more openness when it comes to sharing information. And for someone who has to engage with her academic community with next to no face-to-face contact, it is very refreshing.

Knowing the challenges I have faced with feeling to distanced from school and then getting depressed (or the other way around), I'm trying to use this space to keep myself active and immersed in my studies. It helps me to write about it. This is part of the reason why I resigned from my job, so I had no excuses that work was taking up too much of my time. I will be focused on one thing, finishing off these last courses. Now I have the freedom to approach them in whatever manner I think is best. What an exciting prospect.