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  • Riley Jay Sironen

Research Update (09/22/2022)

Updated: Nov 26, 2022

Close up view of a pen, a pocket size notebook, and a laptop stacked on one another. Sitting next to it is a red coffee cup. All are sitting on a wooden pick table. In the background is Lake Michigan.

As of yesterday, I am officially four weeks into my first semester of grad school - and I am already on vacation! Well... That part was coincidental, as this trip was planned before my grad school acceptance. But it's nice to take a week away from school and work. After not being in the classroom for four years and having a new diagnosis of ADHD & Autism, this whole month has been full of new things and adjustments that my brain and body needed a break from it all. But, as you can see, I am still doing what I can from our little piece of paradise in Northern Michigan. The hardest part is my body wants to do everything except work when I am here. So I have been trying to do "work breaks" in minimal intervals. I have wondered what it might look like to use a timer to do work, but I am worried that I will feel like I am racing against the clock - which is an anxiety that I already struggle with regarding society's concept of clocks and dates. One beneficial tool has been carrying a small notebook with a pen (pictured), so I always have somewhere to write my random ideas. While I have always been someone who carries around a notebook, another anxiety I struggle with is not wanting to "waste the pages" and write something not worthy of those pages. But, two weeks ago at work, I overheard a conversation where someone said, "I always write my thoughts down, no matter what it is. That way, I can just stop thinking about it". It felt like an epiphany to hear those words. Since then, I have been jotting thoughts in my notebook or the Notes App on my phone, and my brain feels a little less cluttered. I am writing (and even doodling!) again, which makes me happy.

As I said, I've had four weeks of class so far - including yesterday when I joined one of my classes via Zoom. Yesterday I also took the first steps of my project beyond picking the topic. I have begun reaching out to other scholars in my field to ask for their guidance (per the instructions of an assignment I was given). I hope to hear back soon about journals and authors they found helpful for their research. The most significant struggle with my topics for both classes is that I am being told my ideas are too broad and I need to focus on one area. And I guess that makes sense with the small amount of time we have in the classroom, but I want to encompass everything. So until I have a clear direction, I'll be waiting to share my final topic of interest for my classes here with you all.

Feel free to share below your thoughts on my progress, tools you use to help you focus, or what you've been working on!

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