Thursday, February 24, 2011

Researching the Research

It can be quite frustrating to have a great topic for a research paper but not have any sources for that topic. That happened to me this week. I wanted to research segregation in Knoxville's cemeteries. The only source I found was Mr. Robert McGinnis, Knox County's Cemetery Historian. When asked about resources other than him (like primary and secondary documents), he replied, "I'm it." For those of you who have done a major historical research project, you know how critical it is to have good primary sources. Without them, your research is a waste of time.

Soooo, I must find another topic. I have several ideas, but am researching sources before I settle on one topic. Topics I am considering are: The Development of the Interstate Freeway System in Tennessee from 1950-2000, The Evolution of Market Square, Knoxville's 20th Century Fine Arts Landscape, The Development of Knox County's Museum Culture, Building World Class Architects: UT's College of Art and Architecture.

I need to nail this down by tomorrow. I'll keep you posted. Stay tuned . . .

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't Delay!

Deb Peterson recently blogged about returning to school:

I know this topic has been addressed many times, but it is a topic worth revisiting. Where are you in life - Retired and want to start a second career? Recently divorced or widowed and need to update your job skills? Empty nesting and want to finish your degree? Wherever you are in life, if you are asking, "Should I go back to school?" - the answer is "YES!!!"

Four years ago when I started my nontrad journey, I did not even know what a nontraditional student was. I didn't know there was a name for people like me. The only thing I was sure about was that I wanted to finish my degree and attending the traditional 4-year university was the only way to accomplish that task. So, here I am - one semester away from getting my Bachelor's degree in History.

I need to thank Deb Peterson and Elizabeth Shepherd for their continued encouragement to me and others like me as we trudge along this path of being a nontraditional student. Their expertise has proved to be incredibly valuable, time and time again.

So, where are you in life? Think you want to go back to school but not sure because of finances, time commitment, etc.? Start out small at the community college. It's more affordable and there are evening classes, so you can afford to explore your interests. Online versus traditional university? Look at the what programs are offered. For many people, online school is not as intimidating and can be done from the convenience of your own home. Others, like me, choose a degree field that is not available online. Still others like the social interaction of the traditional classroom. The possibilities are endless! Don't delay! Check out your options and apply this spring. Don't think you are too old, or too dumb, or too whatever. You are never too old, it's like riding a bike and the excuses won't get you anywhere. You CAN go back to school! Just do it! Stay tuned . . .