Post-Proposal Thoughts


Ray asked us to reflect on how our ideas for our projects have changed since their original conceptions, and to blog about it before class on Thursday.



My idea for my project hasn’t changed as much as my emotions about it have developed over the past couple of weeks. I’m exploring a phenomenon I’m calling the “Anthropologie effect” through the lens of Etsy’s occupation of the gentrified niche in the peer-to-peer e-commerce market left open by Ebay. Typing that out, it seems a little convoluted, but I guess that’s what happens when confounding variables get added to the mix.


When I first came up with this idea, it was almost a non-idea, slipped into my brainstorming list in my pre-proposal. I really came up with it because I spend way too much time on Pinterest, and I’ve been using Etsy to plan my Galentine’s Day brunch. (Yes, I’m hosting a G-day brunch. No, there won’t be waffles this year.) I also have a little to-do list pad from Anthropologie, which cost me $12, and which I treasure despite its disproportionate cost-to-value ratio. But for some reason, I love that little notepad, and Anthropologie, and Etsy, and Pinterest, despite the fact that they’re all unnecessarily expensive and irrelevant to my career.


That was my real problem, at first. Talking about social and economic trends and the influence of lifestyle design trends on my generation have absolutely nothing to do with chemical engineering curriculum or industry. As such, it felt incredibly irresponsible to focus an entire three-and-a-half months’ effort on a topic that didn’t directly contribute to my career development. (This is the emotional process I blogged about last week.)


But, it was really the best idea I had, and the one Ray deemed most pursuable, so I kept going with it. I still didn’t feel fantastic about it, but I’d decided that something was at least interesting was better than something that was somewhat relevant. I kept feeling this way until I had the chance to talk to Alexis after class on Tuesday; she explained to me how she had realized that she has the rest of her life to write about science, while this is one of the last chances she has to write about something unrelated to science.


Once I realized that I’m in the same boat as Alexis, I let myself get excited about this project. While my idea for the Anthropologie effect doesn’t have direct implications for my career, it’s still incredibly relevant to my life. As a result, choosing this topic isn’t equivalent to choosing to be irresponsible with my time; thank goodness, because otherwise this project would’ve been an absolute slog through the mud. Instead, I have a feeling that it’s going to be a lot of fun. Hard, but fun. Perfect, right?

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