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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ping Pong PhD [1]

This is the first post I’m writing in my home at Paola. Home, sweet home, yes… Although I was looking forward to the move back here from my summer residence, I am always reluctant to pack all my stuff and then unpack everything. As if I don’t get tired enough doing the packing in the first place. And it surprises me how I get all my stuff in the same bag and then can’t figure out how it fitted in there the first time! Anyway, I’m here again and after pestering my ISP to get my internet service back, I am also online yet again. Luckily, I didn’t spend such a long time offline this time. OK, I admit I depend largely on the internet for almost everything. Except to satisfy my hunger, thirst and sleep - I think that includes the most important things for my survival. Hey, what about friendships and social relations?

Well, I’ve recently started getting more into social networking apart from posting on blogger. In fact, I’m exploring the potential of facebook and twitter. I have found twitter ideal for submitting links to my recent posts and to other posts that interest me and I also use face book for almost the same purpose. On the other hand, as a visually impaired person, I prefer to use twitter than face book as the face book interface tends to be very graphic and I find myself struggling with my screen magnifier at times. True, they have included audio captions to verify that I am really human and not a spam engine. But it’s not always easy to make out what the recorded voices are saying! Besides, I think I should be expanding my social networks now. In fact, only recently I have joined a micro blogging platform called identi.

However, a persistent problem that I thought about is whether it was worth it having more social networks and then have to go through the tedious process of logging in, writing your bit, listening to the audio caption if I’m in face book and then posting. Even writing that was tedious! Now, I discovered an intelligent way to keep all of you up to date without the hassle. The solution is a site called ping.fm where I can update all my current social networks and any new ones I might be tempted to add. I admit that since I discovered blogging in 2006 and became savvier in the world of social networking, I was hooked. Not that I have become chained to my net book and never leave home. In fact, I think social networking should help in sustaining friendships and creating new ones. Unfortunately, the danger of social isolation brought about by a kind of cyber-philia is a reality as well. But back to my post…

When I started my MA in Disability Studies (in 2006), I used blogging more as a means for expressing myself to pass the little free time I had between work and study. I used my blog for many purposes, but my prime motivation was (and is) to highlight ways in which I feel society excluded me. As a wheelchair user who was becoming used to a visual impairment, I wanted to reach out to the online community once again - after a brief absence. I always used to love writing and, thus, blogging was the perfect way to express my thoughts - not just about disability issues and disability activism but also about how I viewed things as an individual. After all, the reason I engaged in disability activism is to help change society in a way that I can enjoy my rights and not be judged by my impairments.

As I finished my MA, I had to decide whether I should continue with my studies…and do... the PhD. I took a year off study, found part-time work and this summer I had to decide whether it’s work or study. Greedy as I am, I opted to do both! In fact, I will be continuing with my work and start my research. And hopefully I will succeed in completing my PhD on a part-time basis by 2013.

Before the summer began, I was almost sure of going ahead with my PhD but the topic eluded me. As my mind tried to find the right research area that I would enjoy, ideas ping ponged in my consciousness. Should I do employment? Or a study on local media? Or even on inclusive education? Nothing seemed to inspire me enough to spend 4 years. Not that these areas are not important – on the contrary! Yet, this was my first PhD and I wanted to make sure I’m 100 percent ok with the topic.

But still I was out of good ideas! So, to take a line from Frasier’s theme song - What is a boy to do?


To be continued ...

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