Posts Tagged ‘ thesis ’

But people from Missouri never incensed me

Lately I’ve been working to put myself in some situations that make me uncomfortable.  Not a bad sort of uncomfortable (there’s a good kind?) but the kind that allows for personal growth. I’m terribly shy, which most people either already know about me or won’t believe when I say. So I’m doing things like reading aloud and taking courses which will require me to put a little more of myself on the line.  I’ve started communicating my thoughts and beliefs a little more.  But if I’m not sure of something–especially if it seems like I should be sure of it–I panic a little.  I’m working on this–partly just by being as prepared as possible.  But re-reading everything a hundred times to make sure I didn’t miss something is not practical. Nor is spending hours on every littlest written assignment. So I’m also working on being okay with being wrong or occasionally sounding silly.  Last semester was really the first time I’ve started communicating with professors–asking for clarification or an opportunity to discuss a point of interest.  Partially I think it was finding a field that met my interests better and having a group of professors who are more approachable.  But I’ll take a little credit too.  And because of those little things, I’m now working on this thesis project (in brief, I’m looking at yes/no questions in which the fronted auxiliary verb and sometimes the pronoun are dropped e.g. “Still reading this?” versus “Are you still reading this?”) which is a good challenge both in that it involves a lot of research and thought and in that I’m going to have to present my thoughts.  It’s pretty exciting, and I think that that, along with a few other activities I’ve fallen into when I dove headfirst into this new department are going to be outrageously beneficial for confidence building, and overcoming a bit of that anxiety.

The title of this post, by the way, is a line from a song (They all laughed) printed at the end of an economics paper I just read.  (Aside: ending a really boring paper with a song doesn’t make it less boring.  But it does mean that there’s a page less really boring paper to read than expected, which is nice.)  It’s kind of an odd line, and I have no idea why it’s in there.  Of course, as someone from Missouri, I think it would be great if you have a high opinion of folks from Missouri.  But people from the Show Me State have incensed even me, so I won’t be too sad if the line doesn’t ring true for you.  In fact, it may be better if it doesn’t.  If you happen to be a word buff, you may know that incense also at one point meant  to “offer flattering homage or adulation to; to flatter.”  Of course, since that doesn’t reflect modern day usage, I’m honor-bound to throw it out, only to be brought up as an interesting example of historical semantic variation (I’m pretty sure that’s how you prove you’re not a prescriptivist–linguists, back me up?).  But I am willing to spin a positive interpretation on the more common “make angry” meaning of the verb.

I’m terribly inclined–as I think many folks are–to allow the status quo to remain unchallenged.  It’s an instinct I do my best to resist.  My closest friends often infuriate me, but that’s a good thing.  It’s a challenge for improvement.  If they agreed with everything I did, I’d remain stagnant.

Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are. -St. Augustine

I don’t mean to say that I want to be angry.  Just that it’s good to be incensed by something or someone so that progress can occur.