A day half spent traveling; a day that ends with me feeling both satisfied and slightly disheartened.

19 Aug

(Late post because internet issues)

My alarm rings at 7.30am. I press the snooze button, pull the duvet over my head and lay in bed postponing movement. My alarm rings again alerting me that it is time to scrape myself out of bed. I push the duvet away from me and drag my tired, achy body out of my bed and into the bathroom. I switch on the shower and lean against the bathroom wall until the water reaches a desirable temperature. Desirable temperature reached I throw myself under the shower and sing gently as I was away the tiredness (singing sentences not known by any other member of the human population). Ten minutes or so later I am dressed and ready for the day ahead.

By 8.40am I am making the journey to University which is likely to take me well over an hour. I have never travelled to the main campus before so I might get lost along the way (the university I attend has a smaller campus based in the town that I live in and until now I have not felt the need to travel to the main campus). Why am I making this journey today? The answer: to use the vast amount of textbooks they have on doing research, to look at paper journals on my chosen dissertation topic and to look at previous completed dissertations.

I arrive at the town centre at 9am; I have missed the train that I needed to catch and the next direct train is not until 10:0am so I decide to go to Wilkinson’s and WHSmiths to buy some stationary. I purchase 2 notepads (one A4 and one A5), some Paper Mate® pens, a pencil case and some Sharpie® fine point colourful permanent markers. As I walk to the train station I deliberate what it is I aim to achieve by the end of the day. I know that I want to look at the materials and resources available at the university but I do not know what exactly it is I am wanting to achieve from doing this. I ponder as I sit in the train station.

The train arrives at 10:01am and the main part of the journey begins. Sitting at a seat with a table, I open my laptop and read some of the pdfs I have on research methods but this starts to give me a headache. I stop and think about what tasks to set myself today. The tasks I set are as follows: Task 1: find resources on completing research and make notes on methodology; Task 2: look at previous dissertations and note what kind of things are included (i.e. the sections and order). My tiredness makes me think about the day ahead irrationally and I doubt my ability to make good progress with these today. Motor wakes up and speaks, ‘Come on, there is no need for that. You have motivated yourself to get up and make this journey so now motivate yourself to make the most of your time at the university. You can do this, stop doubting yourself and put that smile on your face’. The gloomy look is removed from my face as I smile.

Arriving at the city at 10:50am I feel overwhelmed and lost. I do not have any idea where I have to go and I am alone. Surely I can make my way to the university site without any issues? Grabbing my phone I google how to get to the university and begin to follow the directions. I will make it to the university without getting lost! As I begin the journey I come across a free city bus which luckily for me goes to the University. My initial worry of getting lost disappears.

Journey complete I enter the University library at 11.10am. Looking around I notice how big the library is in comparison to the one at the campus I attend. This scares me and I panic. How am I going to find anything in here? It is too large, it is a maze. Motor speaks: “Stop with this irrational behaviour! It is not a maze and you are not going to have any problem finding the resources. Just use the library web catalogue to direct you to the resources you are looking for. You will find it is quite easy when you get started. Good luck and be joyful!’ I listen and follow the instruction to use the web catalogue. Locations of books noted I make the journey to collect them.

Collecting the books I want to explore takes me 50 minutes.

 

Sitting down at the table in the quit study area I set myself the task of picking out and noting down the relevant information, reminding myself to make a note of the reference. Textbooks, notepads, sticky labels (to note references) and the varying pens laid out in front of me I begin to complete task one.

As time passes I realise that I need to make an enquiry into whether or not the library keep copies of undergraduate dissertations before the library staff leave. At 1.30pm I stop and make my way to the help desk. Arriving at the desk I notice two women manning the desk who seem to have little knowledge on what is or what is not available (this could be due to the fact that the library is undergoing a refurbishment). I am called forward and I make my enquiry. My initial judgment is eliminated as the woman tries her upright best to help me; she advices me to look at textbooks on dissertation/ research proposal planning and writing as, after much exploration of the online web catalogue, she cannot direct me to any undergraduate dissertations. The fact that they do not keep any copies of undergraduate dissertations leaves me baffled as I am 100% certain I was told by one of my old lecturers that copies are kept at the main campus library. I leave the desk half satisfied and return to my area of study. Work on task 1 continues.

I stop task 1 at 4pm in order to begin the journey home. This early end is due to the fact that the last free city bus is at 4.30pm and I need to make a visit to the self-service machine to borrow some book before then. The journey begins when I have packed up all my belongings and returned some books to the shelves.

Arriving at the train station at 4.40pm I notice that I have 35 minutes to wait until my next train home. I could make use of the 35 minutes by doing some reading or I could procrastinate. Procrastination seems like the best choice but I know that I should read something. Decisions, decisions… I choose to do the latter and before I know it my train home arrives.

A wiser choice is made by my, more determined, self as I make the journey home. The journey time allows for me to read around qualitative research methods which, believe it or not, I have been doing all day. Reading the book proves difficult; in some sense I ignore the information because I do not grasp a substantial understanding of what the author is telling me. I put this down to the mere fact that I have several things stopping me from internalising the information: 1- surrounding noise, 2- my inner motivator is not present, 3- I am feeling lethargic, 4- I do not have the correct work station set up in front of me, and 5- I cannot make any notes, which for me, to allow for some remembrance of the information, is a necessity. I do not know what happens but 20 minutes into the journey motor come alive; I keep reading the chapter ‘carrying out interviews’ despite the fact that I am probably not retaining any of the information. That’s ok though, surely it is better to at least attempt to understand the information than it is to sit here staring out of the window for half an hour.

After a long and boring journey I arrive home at 7pm. I drag myself upstairs and get changed into something comfortable. At 7.30pm I decide to make myself something to eat.

One and a half hours later I am leaned against the fridge waiting for the kettle to boil (I have eaten and washed up; today I made myself a tuna and cheese melt with soup- Yum!). As I stand there staring at the kettle I think about what I have actually achieved so far today. I can tell you one thing I am still none the clearer on what exactly it is I need to know about research methodologies for undergraduate level research. All I can tell myself to do is read and make notes on the topic but is this the best thing to do? I honestly do not know but I will carry on with it and hopefully doing this reading will improve my knowledge on research and research methods. My reflection on the day so far has made me acknowledge the fact that task 2 was impossible to complete; to stop me from becoming upset about the former Motor assures me that it was through no fault of my own and that I did at least attempt to find an example to look at. The sound of the kettle completing its boil snaps me out of my reflective daze and I make myself a hot chocolate.

I take my hot chocolate into the living room and make myself comfortable on the sofa. Notepad open, pens at the ready and research textbooks spread out I continue reading around research methodologies.

11pm calls for me to stop working. It has been a very long day and I it ends with me feeling satisfied with the reading that I have done but disheartened at the fact that I was not able to look at any undergraduate dissertations; Motor tells me not to dwell on the matter.

By 11.30pm I am upstairs. I want to do some more academic reading but Motor shouts at me: ‘Stop! Do not overwork yourself, you can come back to it another day. You have done plenty’.

I end the evening by switching on my TV to watch a film.

Today has been a day half spent traveling; a day that ends with me feeling both satisfied and slightly disheartened.

 

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