What would you do if you were not afraid?

Not quite a year since I handed in my thesis, nine months into a Real Job, and less than two weeks before the application deadline for 2010 research degrees, someone finally sat me down and asked me what I really want to do.

Apparently, what I would do if I still had all the guts and confidence I had two years ago (blah blah blah personal crap hit me hard during my Hons year, I’ve been using this year off to get my head screwed back on) is:

1. A thesis, preferably an MPil.

2. At Sydney Uni (I had been considering studying, say, Australian lit at ANU to save myself moving towns again).

3. On Old French (that’s a surprise – I’d been telling myself all along that I’m not good enough at French for that), specifically, on female homosociality in the works of Chretien de Troyes (which I went on about at length here).

4. As soon as humanly possible, and sort out financial questions when they happen.

People, it is ten days out from the application deadline. My Old French professor, a thousand blessings be upon her head, says she’ll take me. The CMS say they will take me.

What I have to do is write a research proposal in eight days and pop it in the mail. It’s an inauspicious start – maybe if I get my last minute deadline scrambling done now, I won’t have to do it at the end? I don’t know what my scholarship chances are, as I’ve no publications. But, by the Venerable Bede, it’s what I’d rather be doing, I’d be an idiot not to try it.

Here goes, folks!

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6 Responses to “What would you do if you were not afraid?”

  1. Jonathan Jarrett Says:

    Go! You will win for sure, he says having absolutely no knowledge of the field or institution or funding bodies in question. But my ignorance backs you all the way!

  2. B. Hawk Says:

    Very happy to read that you’re heading back to what you love! Also, given what I know about your work, glad to know that you’ll be continuing to contribute to the medieval studies field.

    If you do happen to publish anything on Wulfstan, by the way, that would be great for those others of us who work with his texts.

    • highlyeccentric Says:

      I do intend to publish something out of my Hons thesis – in fact, I have a half-written article in my hard drive. I just… well, I needed a Real Break this year. Once I’ve got the application in, I’ll start looking at that again 😀

  3. Hannah Kilpatrick Says:

    I was there two and a half years ago, before starting Honours. For me, it took the form of both ‘well, I can’t do that well enough so how can I even start’ and ‘but what GOOD does it actually do anyone? what’s the use of it?’

    If it helps any, I can scan in and forward you the handouts we got two months ago for preparing our own grant applications for masters and doctorates? They’re not prescriptive, of course – nothing could be, I daresay – but they cover most aspects of an ideal application and go into some detail, and I found them very helpful in preparing my lightning-quick application (I found out about it very late – as an international student I didn’t know it was even possible to apply), because I’d just stop and jot down ideas in the margins near the bits that struck me. Afterwards it was mostly a case of gathering those thoughts together and making a good shape of them, rather than starting from scratch and having to think how to phrase every sentence.

    Of course, you might work in an entirely different way that would render them less useful!

    • highlyeccentric Says:

      Hannah, you are a pearl among academics. I have the Learning Centre’s guide to proposal writing (which seems to be aimed at 10-page proposals, not 1000 word ones), and I have an IDEA (WHOO! Sorted that out last night), but any further pointers on proposal-writing would be *awesome*. 😀

      You still have my email address, yes? If not the one I used last year, then highlyeccentric AT gmail will also reach me :D.

      THANK YOU!

      • Hannah Kilpatrick Says:

        I think I do! Unfortunately my housemate has ordered me to stay home today on account of repeatedly almost fainting yesterday at uni (female bodies are a nuisance sometimes), so I will not have the folder containing them until tonight when she brings them home to me. Then I shall scan them in and send them to you! For they are good.


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