Arts and Sciences: Q&A “On the topic of unique research”

Question for the MoAS Office:
There’s no one that does what I do. Why should I even bother?

Have you heard a friend say something like this? Maybe you’ve even said it yourself? “I don’t have fun with A&S activities because no one does what I do.” Guess what. I’ve said this myself, too. And it frustrated me a good deal. That feeling of being alone. That feeling of not having any help.

After some time I learned to re-frame how I looked at it. That helped me a good deal to be less frustrated. That helped me to feel less different. That helped me feel more a part of the A&S community.

How’d I re-frame my thinking?

In many ways I think we’re all doing the same things. I think we are just going about it with different tools and materials and methods.

What do I mean?

To some degree? I think we all want to have fun. I think we all want to learn. And I think we all want to teach others and about our passions.

I think we go about that these things in much the same ways.

  • We learn about historical sources.
  • We research all we can about our subject.
  • We experiment.
  • We may fail.
  • We Try again.
  • We practice.
  • We get better.
  • We share what we learn with others.

When I thought about it that way? It helped me a lot. I stopped thinking of myself as being left out and I started thinking of myself as part of the club. A club that thought I was a part of the club already. They already saw me as a part of the community. I was the one that was feeling like I wasn’t a part of the community. A club that’s not made to exclude people at all. A club that’s made to include anyone who wants to learn and teach and have fun within the arts and sciences.

Were there still hard things? Yes. Of course. I didn’t have as many people to turn to and ask for help on my subject. I had to learn some of those subject specific things on my own. I did, though, have a lot of people I could turn to about how to research my subject and all sorts of other things.

The more I worked with other people the more I learned that I wasn’t alone there either. There’s lots of people, that were like me, working on a thing that others didn’t do either. It wasn’t the same thing as I wanted to do. But in some ways we were exploring on our own, but together. We were a community all doing arts and sciences that other people were not exploring. So there was camaraderie there, too.

Will this kind of re-framing work for everyone. Of course not.

But it might help for a few people. That’s why I shared it. Because I know it helped me. And I’d like it to help others, too.

~philip white, Deputy EK MoAS

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