There was a comment/question that I did not put into the list, because it was not a generic question. Â It was specifically about my work.
The committee member said, “We see that you have lots of presentations in diverse areas. Â What exactly are your areas of interest?”
And I said… all of them.
If you are new to academia and are beginning a career, pick a single area of interest and work in it. Â It makes more sense to people and they can see the connections better when the lines are not a dot-to-dot.
They don’t like it if your list of conferences are on the following topics:
- science fiction
- fairy tales
- Civil War holidays
- post-1960s South
- business writing
- technology in the classroom
- gender differences in composition
They want something a bit cleaner. Â If I’d done all my work on Shakespeare or Gulliver’s TravelsÂ or poetry, that would have been better. Â But I didn’t. Â
I was told that I needed to have more conferences, so I got more conferences. Â I worked hard to figure out what I already knew/had researched that I could talk about and then I wrote conference papers on them.
In the last year, as a matter of fact, I’ve had papers accepted at twelve conferences. Â I’ve written five papers, though I’ve only gotten one published so far, and one of them was turned down, which leaves three still out there.
I didn’t go randomly picking topics. Â There’s nothing on WWI or food consumption or Islam or circuses. Â I don’t know anything about those. Â I haven’t studied them. Â The presentations I have done (and am going to be doing) are all on areas of interest to me.
The problem, of course, is that they aren’t on a single narrow research topic. Â I can’t become the expert on one thing if I am doing lots of different things. Â But I like doing lots of different things. Â I’d like to become an expert in several areas.
However, it would, in fact, be easier for everyone if I had picked a single area of expertise. Â Too bad I can’t do that.