Undergraduate Conference – Diary Entry 2

by Craig Evans

Well, you’ve got to speculate to accumulate. Right? That’s what they say isn’t it? Although ‘they’ are probably just someone who wants you to invest in some hare-brained financial scheme or other. They don’t ask me because I am a student and I wear my pockets turned out in a manner that seems to say: nothing to venture, nothing to gain. So instead these maxims are scooped up by my fledgling but eager academic ear.

And what do I hear? – You’ve got to speculate to accumulate. Meaning: have some ideas, try them out for size, don’t worry if they don’t always fit, for it’s all a part of the wonderful rich experience that is learning.

This seems to me to be a healthy attitude to have if you’re an undergraduate student still finding your bearings and discovering what interests you most about your subject. It is an attitude that I wholeheartedly embrace, but it is one that is not without its risks for the inexperienced researcher:

Speculations that run free are liable to stray when not tethered to a solid base of knowledge and experience.

Don’t I know it.

Just lately I’ve been brandishing terms such as ‘conversation analysis’ and ‘reflective practice’ with all the uninhibited gusto of someone who has been thinking about them more than I have been reading about them. Free rein has been given to one idea feeding into the next without restraint, and when one moment it seemed that I had a clear idea about where I was going with my project, now I feel a bit fuzzy.

I think maybe it’s time to hit the books again…

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