Kaitlin is Here

Some exciting news: my sister is here visiting!! She’s just finished her last placement in her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and is graduating in a couple weeks. I’m super pumped, we have some great plans to do some Ireland exploring while she’s here, I’m sure I’ll let you know all about it in the next couple of posts.

This week I also met with my dissertation supervisor for the first time, having been allocated to him at the end of last week. We had a solid introduction and a great little brainstorming session about sources and the direction I want to take my project. I have loads more reading to do just to establish a deep background and to refine my topic even further. Should be interesting, good things happening I think.

Also, some cat pictures to keep you up to date with all things cat. I love them a lot.

I’ve been thinking about sociology a bit this week–not directly related to my dissertation, but just generally. And social sciences, as I consider myself (lightly) a social scientist. In the US (and in other places too, I know), there’s been a lot of emphasis in the last, I don’t know, maybe ten years on STEM subjects in school. Now, believe you me, I am 100% in support of that emphasis because out knowledge bases in those areas have been lagging behind their critical importance. I just found it interesting that one of the things people say about this STEM-heavy curriculum is that it’s incredibly important for the society we’re living in. But no one’s talking about the importance of the social sciences which are important because we live in a society. In particular, I fall into that generally non-quantitative, less positivist camp within the social sciences–basically, where ‘real’ scientists take the mick (an Anglo-Irish phrase basically meaning ‘to deride’) out of me for talking about people as human beings instead of rational actors. Even the more sciencey-mathy areas of social science, like economics, have received rather short shrift. I feel like basic economics should be required in high school–which it is in some places, but not where I went (though I took it electively).

Here’s the thing. I just sort of feel like I’m left out a bit of things in school. First, there’s the whole thing where sports trumps the arts every time, which was tough as I am not at all sporty but highly musical (though I’ve stayed out of visual art–with good reason). Then, within academia, it’s all about math and natural sciences because everyone knows you can’t get a job with a humanities degree. And as someone with a BA in International Relations, I can tell you that the struggle is real. But. Learning about the world around us is absolutely critical to developing an educated citizenry and making the world a better place. The thing to remember (which I think we all do implicitly anyway) is that the world around us is made up not only of molecules and forces and energies but also people and societies and ideas. Again, I’m totally in support of math and science. I just don’t want the rest of us to be sidelined either.

So I’m sure that was super interesting reading for all of you. Remember that paper I said I wrote as a blog post? Just be glad I’m not posting that here, because it’s 3,000 words and, though I tried really hard to make it accessible, still really academicky. So moving on to the poetry selection for this week.

This week, I’ve chosen two poems because they’re both quite short. The first is by Yeats (rhymes with gates, if you’ve been unsure), one of the most well-known of the Irish poets and for good reason. The second is by Shel Silverstein, an American poet and writer beloved of my childhood, author of such wonderful anthologies as A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends. They’re a bit of an interesting pairing, but I think there’s a connection that sort of embraces the philosophy of you do you. It’s not like anyone else could do you better. Anyway, enjoy.

A Coat

I made my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world’s eyes
As though they’d wrought it.
Song, let them take it
For there’s more enterprise
In walking naked.

She had blue skin,
And so did he.
He kept it hid
And so did she.
They searched for blue
Their whole life through,
Then passed right by–
And never knew.

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