I was thinking the other day, an activity in which I often indulge, about the process of writing a paper, or a thesis...if you will. I find myself most days getting carried away when I find a work, such as a film or a play, that lends itself to numerous topics of discussion/research/basic delving. And the truth is, anyone can write a research paper on absolutely anything that suits his or her fancy. Freshmen college students have trouble with it because no one has ever given them the power of choice before, but once we all get a little bit older and more...attached to our belief systems...we often have less trouble making decisions and running with them. Thus...the thesis of this blog will be:
You can write a master's thesis!
Picture it: One day, you're lying around on your sofa watching sports...ball, and you keep seeing commercials for Bud Light, and you're like "Why is everyone in these commercials so happy with their beer? Bud Light is gross. In fact, the majority of Bud Light drinkers appear to me to be Bros...and Ho..s." Then, maybe you giggle or chortle at the thought...but upon further thinking...this topic becomes a little more...urgent. "No, but seriously...why?" I'm sure anyone and everyone could end the thought right there by chocking it up to bad breeding, lack of adventure, money...health? But not you. Not now. You've got to get to the bottom of it.
If I learned anything in Grad school, it was that I needed to eventually make a solid choice to say something that had never been said AND backed up with research. SURE, most people joke about the Bud Light demographic...but very few people, nay, no one has really gone out on a limb to research this phenomenon. Why not you? Seriously. Anyone can do this.
So you start googling. Maybe you find a few articles here and there, but you don't really find the mother load until you spend the better part of three months pouring over J-Store. It's this awesomful website where researchers in the liberal arts have access to an ass-ton of scholarly articles on all sorts of topics.
Then you get excited! Things are moving along! You are inspired, and that inspiration is driving you. So what if you spend most of your time locked in a small room, staring at your computer screen, surrounded by mountains of printed J-Store articles in piles that kind of resemble organization. You can no longer be bothered with parties and bar hopping. You are on a journey...NO! A QUEST!
And maybe your friends call you, and beg you to get out of the house. And maybe you do hit up a party or two wearing a giant sweatshirt. And maybe your friends notice that you can't stop blinking (probably because you've been drowning in computer screen). And maybe you start to think that this blinking thing is more than just the screens...like...maybe you have turrets syndrome...it's POSSIBLE.
And then one day you share what you've written so far with one of your friends that you KNOW is smarter than you are, but she returns it to you with the note "This is terrible writing. You may want to take a class on writing because this is impossible to follow." And maybe you get a little angry, and crouch down on the floor of your room, screaming into a pillow. Then, ripping up all the draft papers into shreds, you begin to throw them around the room in a raging frenzy, and when you run out of paper, you collapse into a ball of tears and anger on the floor.
And maybe a few days later you notice that you've begun to break out in hives, and you tell your mom, and she says that maybe it's not hives, maybe you have meningitis, and you're like "WHY THE HELL WOULD IT BE MENINGITIS?!?" But then maybe it is meningitis and you'll be dead in a few days and who really cares about Bud Light anyway because it's A STUPID GROSS BEER FOR LAME PEOPLE THAT DON'T LIKE LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seriously. Academia doesn't belong solely to the elitists.
Then, finally, you are done. The paper is complete. And, after a panel of your most trusted and respected friends ask questions about your findings, they all shake your hand, including the friend that told you that your writing was atrocious. She even apologizes for not taking into account that you had clearly given her a draft that you would eventually re-work into a glorious achievement in research.
Now you're ready to get back to working for a living because you have to pay the government upwards of $30,000 for supporting you whilst you were researching the significance of social stratification/social construction and its influence on beer choice.
I'm just sayin.
I have a Master's Degree and so can you.