Sunday, February 04, 2007

In which Our Young Hero learns the inherent value of sticking to what he knows

In the history of my re-schooling career, which encapsulates the last two semesters and about a month of the latest semester, I've scored a 100% on two different papers, and nothing less than a 96% on any other paper. However, one of those papers was all about myself (which, as we all know, is my favorite subject), and the others were either about literature or psychological issues. Both of which I have a vested interest in.

This semester I'm taking a class called "American Dilemmas," which is a St. Eds requirement, and is all about America and its social ills. A sociology class of sorts, but with a slightly narrower focus. In other words, total bullshit, but whatever. Within this class, we have to compose a 15-20-page research paper about a topic of our choosing, but which has to be about a particular "social ill" (or controversy) plaguing America. (Right from the start we were informed that this year the faculty has decided to ban anyone from doing abortion or gay marriage, as the papers written about these subjects, historically, have been too emotional and too subjective, and anyone writing about these subjects generally already had their mind firmly made up about where they stand.) So with some labored thought and introspection, I decided to do my paper on welfare reform.

And it's a fucking nightmare!!!

I have never in my life felt so lost in doing research on a paper, mostly because the issue is so big, and there is so much information, and I don't even know where to begin. I had a conference with my professor the other day (who I totally have a girl-crush on, by the way; she's SO cute!!) and she helped me narrow it down to focus on one particular of this issue. So I decided to focus on the 5-year time limit now set on receiving welfare, either consecutive or non-consecutive. 5 years. Period. Then they kick you out the door.

The paper, luckily, has to be written in three segments, each one 5-8 pages long, and the outline for the first segment is due on Tuesday. It's an outline, folks, not even a real paper, and it's causing me untold amounts of anxiety. I emailed my rough draft to my professor today, and she sent it back with so many electronic red marks on it, it was unrecognizable. I mean, thank God she did, but you should have seen the apoplectic fit I had sitting at my little table after I read it. I nearly started sobbing.

I understand now the necessity of becoming very versed in one or two issues and leaving the rest to the experts in those issues. I'm trying to console myself with the fact that it will expand my horizons, make me better at research, blah blah blah.

But it's hard.

I don't like things that are hard. They make me feel dumb. So far school has made me feel smart.

But this? Uh-uh.

I don't like this one bit.

1 comment:

bryan h. said...

let's talk about this in the next few days; i might have some resources for you.