i have just finished writing my research paper on amsterdam (part of the requirements for the course that took me across the big pond in october) and have suddenly found myself realising (again) how much i love research and writing, especially when it's about fascinating topics. i have also found myself realising how intellectually non-challenging this semester has been and how i've missed that. talking to the thinking portion of my class, we've come to the conclusion that a lot of our undergrad was far more intellectually challenging than this.
it makes me wonder if for a PhD these days you're simply expected to write a couple of points on some post-it notes, or maybe draw a pretty pie chart in excel and be done with it. you'd think that things would get MORE not less challenging, MORE not less stimulating. i suppose last year, when we took most of our theory classes, was more what i expected. after all, this is a program that is quite technical in a lot of respects, but between this realisation that i'm intellectually disappointed and the whining that "school is haaaaard," i'm getting a little tired of how my hard-earned cash is being spent.
still, at the end, i shall have several shiny new letters after my name, and a shiny new career path shall open up before me. one of the biggest lessons for this school year is that it was up to me to learn as much as possible. if some people look at this as an opportunity akin to going to the gym and half-heartedly lifting up tiny little weights, then more power to them. it's my responsibility to make this count, and making it count is precisely what i'm doing. writing this research paper about the way that mode of transportation shapes the way one perceives the public realm which then translates into greater or lesser public engagement, was a golden rediscovery of my absolute love of writing.
on a slightly odd if not downright disturbing note, the more i read about amsterdam the more i love it. this is not the disturbing part. the disturbing part is that my feelings feel very much like the early stages of romantic love - lust, fascination, excitement, need. as i told crusty juggler, if amsterdam was a man i'd be totally texting him pictures of my lady bits.
aaaand so in typical fashion we've gone from bemoaning a lack of intellectual stimulation to sexting with an entire city.
(i'm going out dancing tonight. maybe amsterdam will show up, so i need to look extra pretty!)