It was nearing 11pm. I was tired, still had an exam to study for and a paper to write, but I wanted to finish my annotated bibliography. It was a struggle. To make matters more complicated, I started questioning the usefulness of some of my sources. One in particular didn’t really seem like a modal source (as I had labeled it) and it wasn’t relevant to my project at all, except that it was an ethnographic study (which I’m only loosely using as a technique), so I took a step back and spent some time brainstorming different ways I could present my final project.
Without realizing it at the time, I was using a variation of Tharp’s 20-question technique to come up with a better idea. Eventually I had something. This past summer I went on a few road trips during which I listened to a variety of podcasts, one of which was S-town. Once I had this seedling, I visited the homepage and felt a dozen light bulbs going off in my head. This was it! This is how I would convey my ideas to others. This small discovery led to a slew of new research leads. One after the other, the majority of my compiled sources were cut from the list and replaced by more relevant and useful ones until I had a list that I actually wanted to use as references. What I thought would take me an hour ended up taking me three, but it was worth it.
For the first time since the start of the semester, I felt like I was in a groove instead of a rut. I was excited to reach out to those I wanted to interview and felt motivated to make progress. Unfortunately this groove came just a few days before winter break, by which point I was brain dead. Now, having returned back to school, I feel like I’ve lost that pre-break motivation that was so inspiring, but hopefully the first week sluggishness will wear off and I can jump back into my project with the enthusiasm I experienced briefly before.
From past experience—whether it be essay writing or a semester long project—I have found that sometimes it’s up to me if I want to shed the sluggishness. It’s too easy to fall into a pattern of laziness when the end is near. However, this is the time I really need to dig in. What has worked well for me in the past is setting aside a day (usually on weekends when I don’t have class to worry about) dedicated solely to whatever it is I want to get done. Having a whole day that I know ahead of time is the time I have to get things done, helps to put me in the right frame of mind.