Phase 0: Getting Started: Topic Exploration and Selection

Updated 1 year 4 months ago
What I have written done below is the very start of a 28-day journey to Xi Zhou. This is the progress of me eliminating the many choices we were able to research into one specific topic to study. At first, while reading the possible topics, there were many interesting ideas that I was interested in, but because we could of only choose one topic, I had to slowly narrow my choices down. At last, I finally made the decision on the topic I will be researching on this trip and here are the processes of me finding the right topic:
The way I used to narrow down the topics on the long list was to, first, after reading the descriptions, see which topics I was interested in investigating/studying/learning about. After I highlighting the ones I was interested in doing on the sheet (7 options left), I narrowed down my options by asking myself if I really want to research and study the topic. There are some priorities like for example my hobbies. For a person who likes art and craft and creating things, they were some specific topics that pop out. After all this progress I finally narrowed to 3 topics I was willing to research, down below are the top 3 choices I had and why I did not choose to research two of them:
Local Food Production was one of my possible choices but did not make it to my final choice because I felt like if I wanted to learn about how food from a local market gets onto our plates I could have always learned about the processors from my mom. So I thought I would not have been using my opportunities wisely.
Textile Production was also one of my possible choices but did not make it as my final topic because even though this will be a fun topic to research, I would not have learned as much compared to the other topics.
After these process, I decide the final topic that I am going to research on Microcampus is Wood carving/Door carving. I choice this topic because I want to learn about this kind of traditional art as I also want to try some of the skills professionals use to create beautiful wood carving. This topic is important to me because I really like arts and craft and I want to learn about the progress of making a wood carving. I plan to learn about different kinds of wood carving, how they manage to create a beautiful figure out of an ordinary chunk of wood, what wood carving means to them, what are they trying to express by their art pieces, how did they get started on this type of art, and what progress do they go through to make a wood figure. I imagine talking to professional wood carvers and learning what wood carvings mean to them and the progress of carving a wood figure from scratch.
After reading the reflections and the advice that was given by the alumni who researched about the same topic that I am doing, I realized how most of the advice was somewhat similar. An example can be the advice given by Alisha K. and Brandon K., they both talked about how they wished to plan their work beforehand so it would not have been so stressful to get their work done on time by the due date and that we should stay on task even though it is very easy to get distracted. In addition to this, Joanne C. mentioned how procrastinating, falling behind in work, is similar to death and how we should do our best to keep up with the group. Overall I learned from the alumni to plan ahead of the trip and also not to procrastinate.
What I have above is only the first step of a long and fun journey. In Phase 0 I have found the topic I was interested in researching on the Microcampus trip and in Phase 1 I will be brainstorming the questions that will guide my research on this journey.
My name is Brandt L. and I am born in Nagoya, Japan the moved to Shanghai, China when I was two years old. I have been in the SAS community for about 5 years and it has been an amazing and a wonderful time. I have a sister called Vanessa who was part of the Microcampus E group. The 28-day Microcampus experience has been a wonderful experience that I will never forget in my life. I definitely want to visit Xizhou again in the future for the amazing community, scenery, and delicious food!