Friday, 14 November 2008

Phantom, Research Day Out and Thesis...

I went to see the Phantom of the opera last night - something I had wanted to do for years and years and years. Literally. I love the music, I love the drama and culture surrounding an international stage performance... it's an energy that makes me feel more fully alive. Like I'm experiencing something worthwhile, something which will be noted in the memory banks as a Night To Remember for years to come. It was an incredibly fulfilling experience... and also part of a "self care" thing I'm working on. After years of hearing the words "No" and "Can't" it's hard to switch yourself into "Yes" and "Can" mode.

And now for something completely different... We had a Research Day Out at work today. Normally, work doesn't figure much on my blog, not because I don't like it - I do - I love it in fact. However I guess it's not really what I want to be rambling on about in my spare time. But today was different - 12 different grad students from both Massey and Waikato came together to present on their Masters/PhD research and the result was nothing short of stunning. From work engagement in aid organisations, to androgen's effect on adult gender identities, to homelessness, to emergency management, to the lived experiences of heavy metal fans, to resilience in migrant communities... we really had it all. THIS was the answer to the question I get asked so very often in my job: "What can I do with Psychology?" The answer, obviously, is just about anything you like!
The thing that really captured my attention and imagination though was one section of Darrin Hodgett's presentation which spoke about the homelessness project which he's involved in with Kerry Chamberlain from Massey. They found that a key space that homeless people engage with other in is the public library - here they have a place to be where they can read, engage with others, research things that interest them and get off the streets for a while. This really caught me as I too absolutely love public libraries. Just going ito one has an incredibly calming effect on me - a function of me being a total literophile I'm sure - something I have found from an early age. Nothing, but nothing will make me quite as happy in quite the same way as putting me amongst a bunch of books. And to find that others could also garner similar feelings from libraries was interesting - although no doubt the element of social engagement is more pertinent to those who are homeless. I also loved how this smashed any stereotype that may hang around about homeless people all being uneducated bums.

Speaking of education - the continuing of mine is rolling along nicely. I had some email correspondence with the person I have wanted to be my thesis supervisor since undergrad days about my ideas for my upcoming MA thesis. I'm thinking something in the area of post 9/11 literature and the domestic, I think. I'm just going to read as widely as I can at this stage and roll out from there. It's very exciting. Of anyone happens to be reading this and knows of something (anything) related to post 9/11 literature, please let me know. Cheers!

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