Monday, September 12, 2011

Be careful what you wish for...

A tree on campus. At least this place is green!

During my first semester in this postgrad program I struggled because I felt our work was almost all theory-based and abstract, and our main goal was to learn how to conduct reliable research. The readings could be dry at times, but I always felt on top of my studies.

Suddenly this semester has hit me like a ton of bricks. The readings are still heavy, but my classes require me to be out in the field--a lot. Site visits are fun and inspiring, and I conducted enough interviews as a journalism student to be comfortable with the process, but I still feel overwhelmed. I wish I could be several places at once--at an NGO or a local business capturing stories with a tape recorder, and at the same time in the library looking up development theories around the same topic, while also at home on a computer writing it all out to make sense of it.

Tackling this process one step at a time strains my patience. I feel like the more I do (got an amazing interview with a social entrepreneur done today), the more I have to do (transcribe; analyze; compare against theory; write recommendations).

I guess the only way out is through it. I leave South Africa for a long visit home 10 weeks from tomorrow. I know this fact, but it doesn't seem real. I'm too steeped in my daily routine here--it doesn't feel like it's ending. I don't want this time to slip away too quickly, but I will also appreciate it when some of my bigger projects are finished and handed in.

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