As of August 8, 2013

Etudiante_MalineHere it is. One year has gone since I last posted an update report on this blog, last August! However, lots of things have been happening, often draining me of all my energy! I guess, I owe it to my family, my friends (both online and off-line) and some great radio/TV shows (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the Colbert Nation, Les Dicodeurs, L’Agence, Les Guignols de l’Info) not to have dropped out completely flat!

Well, first of all, you might have noted that this blog has been a lot livelier than it was back then! I have been posting much more regularly, at least around once a week if not more often when I had the time at hand. True, I have often contented with publishing short reactions to stuff read on the Web and posted using scoop.it and knowtex for scientific stuff. Moreover, yes, it has been mostly in French. But I live and work in French now, so this is somewhat normal. However, there are a few articles in English. I have truly tried to write frequently as a way to exercise my capacity to synthesize my analyses and thoughts about various issues and to refine my writing style (I still have a lot of work, I know that!). Lately I have been particularly preoccupied with rationality and the lack of intellectual rigour among those who make up the public sphere, that is not just journalists (to whom I don’t wish to throw the first stone, considering their quite straining work conditions), but also fellow citizens and the myriads of organizations vying for our attention and trying to raise our awareness of millions of issues. My idea is that one can practice scepticism in our daily approach of the world and particularly of media news without falling into the pitfall of distrusting every bits of information. It is just kind of tedious and kind of slowing. This is also what I have attempted to put into practice in this blog.

However, my dissertation has remained the centre of my life throughout this twelve months. When I last gave news, I had just finished struggling with the two chapters concerning my the data and interpretation of my fieldwork results. However, it was way too long for my supervisor. The whole text, without the introduction and conclusion comprised of 600 pages. He asked me to cut it by half. However, reducing a dissertation by a half doesn’t mean just discarding one out of every two paragraphs! It actually means to re-think the whole work all over again in order to synthesize it and to bring out the heart of the matter. If my text was too long it was because it was coated in too many additional information that would bury down the main thread of my thesis. So, it took me almost 4 months to do so, but I was able to bring it down to 350 pages, including introduction and conclusion. Then, yes, there was 80 pages of additional content: bibliography, lists of figures, tables and illustrations, part of the fieldwork data, table of content and summary of the work on the last page. The University of Strasbourg provides a Word template for dissertation and requires that all appendixes been included in the same document. I have provided a summary of my dissertation but only in French so far. However, you can find a sort of abstract in English here. I’ll try to provide a full translation in English at a later stage. Right now, my hands are kind of full.

Oh yes, I have moved my dissertation to the University of Strasbourg, in France. That was quite tedious, but not as much as I had feared, since I’m a student coming from a foreign non-EU country. My supervisor was of great help to smooth things out with the administration of the University. And during my two-three trips there, I had the pleasure to visit a beautiful city, with a very rich history. I also find out that it has hundreds of beds & breakfasts, so I was able to find nice rooms, very conveniently located, for a much lower price than if I had go to a hotel!

So, now, after all these hurdles, my dissertation is now pretty much ready! The defence date is set up for October 18, 2013! My supervisor has convened a jury of four other professors, three from other Alsatian universities and one from neighbouring Germany. I have sent them out a printed copy of my dissertation and am awaiting their comments and verdict. I hope there won’t be any last minute troubles, because I’m kind of really ready to move on to something else!

In the meantime, I’m trying to prepare my life after my dissertation. So far, I haven’t yet secured a stable job, so I’ve been working with students, helping them with their papers and their thesis. This is a job I really love. Maybe the one I have most enjoyed from all of my other positions. I really appreciate being able to follow a person throughout a whole process, to support her/him with advice and see her/him progress and reach her/his aim! It is probably one of the most fulfilling feeling! I’m now counselling/coaching two students in two different fields and it is working quite smoothly. Another thing I love about this job as a writing workshop Tutor is that I get to be introduced to many different topics from a variety of academic fields and as time goes, I have the feeling I start getting a small academic background in those disciplines as well. So far, I have had a lot of people in education science, so I’m starting to get a bit more familiar with people like Vitgotsky or Piaget, even though I’m naturally far off from someone actually studying these topics. Also, I start being able to draw bridges between these fields and what I have studied separately! Deep down, I think I wish I could turn this into a more stable economic situation so that I could continue working with students!

However, I keep searching in the field of journalism, specialized journalism, publishing, web-writing/editing, web community management and public relations! I’m also opened to other types of positions, but these are my favourite!

Gare de Strasbourg

Bicycle station in front of the main train station of Strasbourg, France. Bicycles are almost king in this city! [September 2012, (cc) Ariane Beldi]