The Breakthrough

Earlier I wrote about finding joy because of the many many people (students, teachers, and those outside of academia) who tend to value the things that they do on the money those activities bring in. It was a pseudo-inspirational piece for those of you who may have had big decisions coming up and were on the fence about the answers. It was certainly something else to others. Perhaps it illustrated some form of regret (though it’s never too late for anything) or it may have even elicited jeers and cheers in turn. It turns out that in the time between writing that post and writing this one I again discovered more proof (at least to me) that doing what you love is valuable in and of itself.

I had just received my dissertation proposal back from my chair. Everything looks good but he wants some stronger glue to hold it together. A corrolary might be something like a side-theory that I borrow to ground the premise of my own argument in existing scholarship. We spoke and he had many suggestions. I listened and understood and had a good idea about what I was going to add when I returned home. The trouble was that I didn’t add it right away (I’ve got a child with me most of the day). This gave the idea time to be flipped about in my mind before committing it to concrete writing. While this turning was happening I made the discovery. The discovery was that a side-interest of mine (remix) offered the higher level premise I really needed. I spend a good deal of time reading up on and participating in remix culture for enjoyment but this was offering me something much larger — a entry point to my entire dissertation. A unique and different perspective from which I can approach my topic. Something I did for fun turned into something very valuable. My hobby became a breakthrough.