On Topic Picking
Posted on Nov 08, 2017 into Scribbles
It has been ages since I have posted my last note. And there had been a plenty of reasons to it. I returned to the Czech Republic to spend my summer holiday there. In a country, which bares all of my past as well as the closest of connections I made with people. I joined the very company I worked for last year, this time for a full time position. And although before the end of this experience, I have written a hateful post on here, I ended up taking it down as well as having mixed feelings about leaving, in the end.
I came back to the UK with an outlook on how am I gonna be happy to jump back into academic life, write some papers and shine just like I did the years before. Now, it has been a month and I only had one occasion of shining. That was a Peer Assisted Learning session, which I lead with my friend and former coursemate Clint Cridland.
Other than that, I am struggling, somewhat.
Of course, I am learning the R programming language and so far am happy with the progress, although it will need time, apparently far more of it than I would like. Also, it is not as much relevant to my progress as I would like to.
My pending assingments sum at a total of 12000 words. In the first month here, I have written percisely 0 relevant words, even though I have worked on the structure and all that stuff somewhat. All is therefore ready for me to jump in and write a ton of interesting narrative in order to achieve great marks, right? Well, not really. Entire one fourth of the total wordcount is to be my dissertation proposal, including quite a beefy literature review. I know how to write one, although it is a lot of reading and I know it will take me a couple of days to fix a proposal worthy of submission to my personal supervisor. No problem there. Where is a problem is my decision on the specific topic I am going to write about! I keep looking around, even considered surveying the market for toilet paper and analyze consumer preference (do we really consume toilet paper, by the way?) therein. But there is no data. Where is data, I am missing knowledge of at least somewhat applicable economic theory. Where is the theory, the topic seems utterly boring to me, and topics which aren’t boring feel too simple in terms of the econometric analysis I would be conducting on top of it. For that reason, I have, by the way, decided that for my masters (should I choose to do it), I am definitely going to ditch economics as a subject. Simply because it does no longer interest me enough to come up with usable ideas.
Regardless, I need to come up with the last one. The pinnacle of my economics studies and the contribution to the field on its own. Question remains what should this be? A piece on macroeconomics? Micro? Regional development? Economics of education? Financial economics? Analysis of the toilet paper market? I just don’t know! All I do in the desperation over all of this is walking down the barbican and watching ships and seagulls, or worse, drinking a light alcoholic drink of disgustingly blue color, vape, and play League of Legends.
Am I at the point of giving up? Am I looking for excuses all around or am I really going through hard time of my life since the glorious rebirth of last late summer? I don’t seem to be able to answer any of these questions. And I keep building up my strength to rip these chains, which hold me in this state and just roll! But then I end up curled in my blankets hiding my eyes in the darkness and thinking of how hard it is to pick something usable without any viable suggestions.
I am used to having a task, or a specific thing to work with. A dataset that gives opportunities I see as useful and usable. Or a pile of journal articles I have to synthesise into a brief presentation. Or, when nothing else at all, at least the damn question!
I have done quite decent work writing a literature review last year on the topic of effect of education on income inequelity. It was neat, fun to do and easy to link theories to. But I don’t want to do something I have already done, because I know clinging to something is not a good idea. Not only because the level of my personal standards went up, but also because it is just not the way I do things.
Where is the epiphany I am looking for? I tried almost everywhere. Under the bed, at a house party, in the sea, in ethanol, on the summoner’s rift, Google, the library catalogue, Lynda.com, YouTube, Reddit, 9Gag, graduate employers guide, bowl of ramen, the barrel of a cannon, EvErYwHeRe!!!
What’s next? Where shall I look and what is my topic gonna be?
I have to see. And stop freaking out, I guess. Because once I do that, my next free writing will be far more structured and will actually make sense. And that would be something I’d be proud of. Furthermore, I wish to be proud of my literature review once it’s done. And I will. I promise that to myself here and now. Now give me the topic, internet. Please.