I’ve spent this afternoon brainstorming on one of my final projects – a large paper due in a couple of weeks. At the beginning of the semester, around the time that I really started getting frustrated and discouraged, I got into an argument in class about organizational schemes. We were talking about the rise of the alphabet as a standardized means of organization. I wanted to know why the alphabet, whose alphabet, and why not something else? I made the caveat that perhaps I was thinking too 21st century – I’m used to tools like del.icio.us and connotea, which use the alphabet but rely on user-input tags for organization. This led me to wonder about other historical organization schemes, which led me to the Cotton Library. Right now, though, I’m trying to fill in the intervening centuries, and I’m not sure where to look.
This has been a very difficult semester for me. It’s my first as a PhD student, though I’m not sure how much of a difference that makes. Expectations are higher at this level, though the work isn’t substantially different yet. I know I should be doing more – I’m expected to be doing more – but I’m really struggling to find the motivation to do the bare minimum. Am I in the right place? Yes. Am I working on interesting things? Some of the time. Am I pursuing the right goal? I really don’t know.