Not like counting sheep

My mentor for my capstone project likes to joke that he’ll talk about his Graduate dissertation to anybody who needs to catch up on sleep. The book-length paper is on the English language and how people’s attitudes towards it changed after the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century. Specifically, he is studying old teaching guides and rhetoric books from the period to see how attitudes evolved with regard to what people considered “proper” English.

Now, if I was feeling particularly self-conscious and wanted to hide my nerdiness I would say–and it wouldn’t be a lie–“go ahead and tell me about it, I am quite behind on sleep.” More than likely, though, the brain wouldn’t have time to censor the words which express my true feelings–“Wow! Tell me more! And, by the way, can I have a copy when you’re done?”

Perhaps it’s because of my interest in Christianity? Or my interest in history? Or my enrollment in the Minor in Writing program? Actually, my interest in my mentor’s dissertation topic is probably due to it’s unique location at the intersection of all three.

From what I’ve heard, writing a dissertation about any topic is quite a formidable task. My mentor has been working on his ever since I met him during my sophomore year. On one occasion, I remember him telling me how he read an entire book…just to write a footnote! As I go forward with my own project, I will no doubt experience a similar feeling of tedium. However, as with virtually all my writing, the thought of the final product is what will keep me going. And regardless of how many difficulties I encounter along the way, I know I’ll have the support of a mentor with quite a bit of writing experience.

3 thoughts to “Not like counting sheep”

  1. Something that I find interesting is the connection between one of your previous blog posts and your mentor’s dissertation. I recall that the first blog post that you created was about your use of the English language and how you tend to be more formal than informal. Here again, we see the idea of what is considered to be “proper” English. Curiously, this seems to be a recurring theme for you.

    It’s a great thing that you find interest in your mentor’s work. I personally find that I have difficulty finding interest in academic topics unless it is directly related to a passion of mine. The fact that you can find and inkling of attraction towards your mentor’s topic is an admirable attribute.

  2. Really good read Joe! I like the smoothness of your tone here, it’s really authentic, and I’m sure we college students have that one professor that rants about the importance of their importance and we just……can’t wait to listen to it. *Insert witty quote here: “More than likely, though, the brain wouldn’t have time to censor the words which express my true feelings”.

    It’s pretty cool that you find some interest in your mentor’s work. That honestly makes it all the more interesting and rewarding when we go in and talk to them. If we’re interested in what our mentors are doing outside of our realm of academia, we’re one foot in the door to not only a great mentorship, but hopefully an amazing connection, with someone just as amazing as ourselves.

    -Good luck on your progress!

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