Yesterday I presented on my thesis in public for the first time (my confirmation doesn’t count as only those who had to be there were, yesterday people could have left!). It was a wonderful and horrifying experience with the later the greater emotion.
Wonderfully people seemed interested in my work. They nodded a appropriate times so either they though I had a good point, or were just feeling sorry for me, either way I’m taking it as a win!
Horrifyingly I tried to do too much in one presentation, it became too confusing and to top it all off I misspoke. Of course I didn’t realise it at the time, it dawned on me about an hour later. This meant I couldn’t fix it at the time and I can’t fix it now. For about 24 hours I was thinking about it over and over again feeling horrified and embarrassed, but then I realised what I could learn.
A thesis outside the natural sciences (and maybe within the natural sciences, I don’t know, but from the outside their work seems a lot more clear cut and exact so I’m assuming they don’t have this problem) must use language exactly. If a word is written or spoken, the author must be clear on the meaning for themselves and their audience. de Saussure tells us this is not actually possible but I really need to try to do better than I did yesterday.
I misspoke for two reasons. Firstly, I didn’t know what I meant because I’m no far enough into the thinking on my thesis. Secondly, I chose stupid words. The English language is diverse and fulsome. I could have chosen a whole range of words to better express my ideas. Better still, I could have shut up.
I have been careless with words. I recently submitted a draft of my theory chapter (again…..yes….again) and it was shit. I have chosen that word precisely. The reasons were exactly the same as above. My own thinking was falling short of my ability to express my ideas and my choice of language was inadequate. I am half way through this thesis and really want my first draft done by the end of next year. I can no longer be careless with my thinking or with my words.
This blog will the exception of course. Here I can just dump what’s in my brain and hope for the best. I see my last post was almost three months ago. A lot has happened on the thesis over that time and I’ve not been writing it here. I’ve been writing, just not here. The lovely AARE people reminded me on Sunday blogging can be a really interesting and important part of the thesis journey if you use it. And I know I’ve said this before, but I really think I need to put thoughts here more often. Especially if I’m going to start thinking more clearly and choosing better language elsewhere. I’ll need a place to ‘throw out the trash of my brain’. See, it’s already starting….