And by Egyptian I mean academic.
I have spent the best part of the last three days attempting to walk, talk and write like an academic. And let me tell you, it does not come easy to me.
As you may know, I decided during a very long-term period of insanity in 2010, to apply for a study grant. The topic? Conference mentoring in the Australian LIS profession. As my insanity has continued, I not only undertook this project when I won the study grant (I very much doubt anyone else applied – why else would they give a grant to a girl with no research experience and less clue?) but have continued to spend a ridonkulous amount of my free time on this project. Which, by the way, it turns out I am (also evidence of my insanity) PASSIONATE about. I mean, sure, I’ve always been keen on helping new graduates. I’ve always been a joiner – the first to put up her hand, keen to be a part of the group, etc. And to get awesome stuff done, of course. And I’ve always been interested in research. Well, sort of. I mean, I used to be much more keen on finding stuff out for other people, rather than conducting my own research. All of that READING of NON-FICTION. YUCK. It’s one of the reasons I became a librarian. I’m happy to find the stuff, but it’s up to you to read it. But then there’s this pesky insanity, that makes me want to know stuff that no-one else has actually written about yet.
As you may know, academics don’t get off lightly when it comes to the reading part of their profession. One of the major parts of their job description is reading non-fiction. And the next major part is writing it. Which is how we get to the last few days of my life.
So I’ve done all the fun stuff. I designed the registration materials and the program. I created surveys (with quite a bit of help from my awesome twitter PLN). I matched participants (ridiculous fun – paper everywhere, part science, part magic). I ran the program on the ground at the conference (awesome fun, though I am told I start to look relatively like one of those crazy dudes in A Clockwork Orange when I’m stressed). I got to meet heaps of wonderful librarians and would-be librarians. I presented a conference paper (not what I consider truly academic – it’s far too much fun and you can use Beatles’ song titles). And now I’ve written a paper (my first) for consideration into a peer-reviewed academic journal.
And it was HARD. The way I think is in a story-telling manner. Everything is a story to me. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. But not so in the academic world. You have to break your story down into chunks. Sometimes, those chunks are as small as a paragraph when you write them, and you have to break them into sentences, or even phrases, and scatter them all over your paper. Some go into the introduction, then there’s the methodology which of course has lots of little sub-sections which break down what you did even further. Then you have to separate your results from your recommendations and your conclusion… well apparently even there you have to break it down. Needless to say, I am indebted to one of my most awesome academic-in-training friends who helped me with the structure when I had only written 1000 words. I’ve now written about 6000 and have sent it off for a bit of tweaking so it’s not too terrible when it gets peer-reviewed. If it even gets selected… so now we wait.
And I am reaffirmed in my love of this profession, where I get to teach people how to find this stuff, but I don’t have to write it. This project has at least two more journal articles in it, and I owe a conference paper to someone over in Perth. But seeing as I am clearly insane, I doubt that will be the end of my foray into the academic pool. Can someone please get me some floaties?