How I go about my choice of thesis topic

Time flies.

I am writing the last assignment of Year 2. It is probably also the last paper I have to write for a taught class. As of tomorrow, there will be only seminars, our Thesis and Major project in Year 3.

I am taking my time to write my thesis proposal. I have my checklist for choosing a subject in front of me. There are about 14 things in the list. I am stuck at the second one: subject should be of use in future career path.

I have changed my mind for about 4 times. I could not settle down with one idea for too long. Sustainability, arts management, art history, folk arts, traditional arts, art education, self-sufficient lifestyle, social design; they all are interesting topics. But their sparks didn’t last long enough as my curiosity soon found the answer for each knot they had to offer. The more I read, the more I became uncertain about what I wanted to do.

I told myself to keep reading. I told myself not to wait for inspiration to arrive to start working. Motivation is overrated. I just need to keep going; even if it means I have to start over and all over again. I just need to keep searching until I find my sparkle.

And I did. I found my topic roughly 48 hours before the deadline. As I am procrastinating, typing this here, there are about 16 hours left. And I still haven’t got a word out.  I started collecting all the books available to read for 9 hours continuously yesterday. My mind literally exploded, though in a good way. The euphoria it brought me was overwhelming, so much my jaw ached. This is it, I thought, this the kind of sign I am looking for. This is what keeps my curiosity captivated. And though I am still confused and haven’t got my research questions articulated, I have my keywords and know where I am heading to.

Now my proposal will probably not be 2500 words as required. But as I continue to read, I know for sure that together we will go far.

Okay, maybe that was a little overconfident. Risky, and possibly way too ambitious. I am actually a bit paranoid. Sometimes I wonder why I always have a thing for abstraction. I wish Michael was here to give me a push, even if it was as brutal as he did when I was heading to a mist in quest of an answer for my entangled curiosity.

“This is tough! But go for it anyway!” – As he might have said.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, now it’s time to take the first one.

“My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence.” (Doyle [1890] 1995: 89-90).


Me wandering in Arita, a little town in the middle of nowhere, an accidental stop during my journey around the Southern of Japan, 2013.

*October and November 2016 updates:

Okay, my topic has changed constantly in the course of time. It is changing as I am writing this sentence right at this very moment. The good thing is that it still keeps me up at nights thinking relentlessly in excitement for the unknowns that the journey I am about to embark on has to offer.



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