When I announced who my thesis advisor was going to be, it was a very debated decision among family, friends and colleagues. Mainly because I didn’t choose any of the obvious ones: I didn’t pick my mentor, nor did I pick any of the area experts (I’m working on innovation in Mexico and the US, and my advisor is a comparative politics specialist). I also didn’t pick the go-to ones (known because they’re famous, fast exits or less work); Of all my choices, I picked a French comparative politician, whom I’ve had little to no interaction with (I only took one class with him, and got a mediocre grade) and who is no expert on the areas or subject matter.
I did it because the first time I met with him, we clicked. I chose him and never looked back, because the first time we talked about my thesis, he got me excited about researching it and living through the process of making it happen. He made my theme sound even cooler than I did (and believe me, I chose a subject I love), I knew right then and there, that a few months into it when I wanted to send everything down the drain that would count for something… I was right.
It’s the best call I’ve made this far. Now that I’ve been at it for a while, he not only guides my research (which is a big pointer, since he reads fast, paces to me and writes furious notes on everything I say, send and read), but he also keeps me inspired; even though I’m working on an undergrad thesis, the challenge still remains: this is my first full-length research project (I had never gone beyond a 30-pager before), and even though I enjoy the process of following information threads, it has gotten challenging. It takes enormous amounts of discipline and work, so having an advisor that can not only get me inspired to work more, but also excited about what I’m doing; one that can remind me why research is such an important and enriching part of my life, and why at the end of the day, it all makes sense… is priceless.
My last meeting with him this morning resembled a therapy session more than an advisory one, and yet I came out with renewed spirits, and eagered to go and get even more information (which probably means months of extra work). Kinda like a kid finding a cool seashell on the beach, only to toss it and try to find a cooler one, after hearing that there are conchs out there.
Days like this, I know I picked the right one.