After a lot of to and fro, I'm headed off to the AAWP conference again. I didn't go last year. I was discouraged from going. That still riles me up. I expected, as part of my degree, I would be encouraged to present. Then again, I also expected I would be encouraged to write up my research for journals - to put myself out into the big, bad, world of peer review and have my writing critiqued. Furthermore, I expected I would be trained in teaching so that I could learn to head up a class, which would later serve to disseminate my research in a live setting and explain it to people who were still learning at a basic level.
I expected too much, it seems.
So, here I am, doing it on my own. I am forced to write journal articles with no guidance, support, or encouragement. I have to present at conferences that I have have to keep myself accountable for applying to present at, even though it will not go towards my attaining a degree. I still haven't managed to get myself in front of a class of budding academics, but I use every opportunity I have to educate people in the field I have found myself working in.
Without the framework, support, and encouragement of a supervisor or an institute, I am making this happen without any recognition other than my own. I would argue I'm doing it a lot tougher than people who participate in PhDs. I am having to be an independent researcher - an island in the academic ocean - without the scaffolding that is a PhD.
Mind you, it is exciting! Doing it on my own. Being self-motivated and self-directed. Standing on my own two feet and wobbling like a toddler taking their first steps. I don't expect it to be a smooth ride. I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop. When will I receive my first rejection for a paper submitted? So far I'm two for two on submitting and being accepted, but when will that 100% tally be challenged? Will it be with this next paper? Only time will tell.
I'll be tackling a subject not tackled to date. Then again, most anything about flash fiction in English has not been tackled to date. That is the great benefit of researching a largely unresearched topic written in English. There is plenty of research in Latin American and Chinese, but these are not readily accessible in English and so the existing research cannot be shared globally.
Now for the challenge at hand: I have to actually write this paper. It is one thing to have a proposal, and something quite different to write a paper. Fortunately, the paper itself isn't due until March. Only the presentation is due in just over two weeks, but a presentation cannot be made without research and preparation.
Two weeks, that's plenty of time, right? I mean I know what I'm talking about, I just have to communicate it clearly and concisely - get it all down in a twenty minute talk... That's doable... Hmmm, maybe this is where some guidance and support would have been good to have. Oh well, I just need to put my big girl pants on and do it on my own.
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