Reflection #3

Confession: I have never conducted research before.

Okay, so I have, in the not-so-traditional sense. My research consisted of reading the books my professors told me to read and writing a paper on them or interviewing the person my editor told me to interview and writing an article about them. I have never sat down… in a library… for eight weeks… and conducted research.

I remember telling people about what I was doing this summer and everyone looking at me confused. My dad asked… no… exclaimed... “why would someone pay you to research something you want to research?” I honestly still do not know the answer. But with that obvious boost in my confidence, I was terrified that I would need to prove myself to the DSSF committee every day.

You can imagine my fear subsided when I realized my cohort were all older than me and had already conducted research before, ABSOLUTELY NOT. Now, not only did I have to prove myself to the committee, but I had to prove myself to my cohort.

Introducing myself on the first day, I was so scared that everyone would think my research was pointless or that I totally did not know what I was doing (which is absolutely true). But as days and weeks went by, I realized that everyone was afraid of something. Gus and I bonded over the fear of being unable to articulate what we are actually researching. Maddie and I have laughed over how confusing the ‘digital’ side of DH is. Ivana and I have motivated each other when we felt like we weren’t getting anywhere. We all have laughed when we didn’t know where we were going with our research, now that I think about it.

The cohort has allowed me to vent about what I am worried about but has also provided tremendous support and encouragement. Ivana, Gus, and I went up and listened to the 1971 recording of Jesus Christ Superstar while we sifted through boxes of archives. Those moments of building community have taught me why DH is important. Rather than comparing ourselves and trying to be better than each other, the cohort helps each other. Emma has shared oral histories with me that she found relevant. Gus has told me about random plays. Somehow, those are some of my favorite finds. The links between my research and the other members’ research make this experience richer. It no longer is five individuals working in the same space, but five colleagues working together.

The committee has been amazing in facilitating the community within the fellows, especially in blending us with the DTSFs¬†and the DSSRFs and allowing us to have time to just talk and get to know each other. The great thing about learning in this type of environment, rather than a class, is that community building in such a key feature. We have time set aside to network and bond and communicate. Talking to Craig (shout out to Craig) at the Bucknell lunch about his research allowed us all to discuss a different side of research. His¬†research isn’t all archives and old dusty books, and it brought out this side that made us all excited again.

I am so excited for all the progress we have all already made, and I am even more excited about the progress that we will have made when these eight weeks are up.

2 Replies to “Reflection #3”

  1. It’s really cool how the relationships in the cohort have helped you out and helped you be more confident. Doing research is tough no matter where you are in your academic path. In some ways, you have a much different perspective on this program, because if you haven’t been trained to do research a specific way, you have less you have to unlearn as part of the program. Shifting from “traditional” to “digital” is a hard time for some people. But you’ve done a fine job embracing that.

    And honestly, we don’t want you to prove anything to us … we want you to prove to yourself that you can do independent research, become confident about using digital tools, and understand how DH is both like and not-like non-digital forms of scholarship. It’s been a lot of fun to watch you grow!

  2. I bet a lot of people with PhDs would share some of your feelings. There’s always SOMEONE who knows more than you, right? We’re interested in your ideas and your journey! Your research will be so much richer because of the connections you’re making with other people and their projects. Keep on keepin’ on.

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