Despite being a Public Relations student, understanding the core foundations of the field and even having work experience and fully fledged jobs as a consultant I still consider myself to be an amateur. A vocational degree is traditionally not meant to be as academic compared to perhaps psychology or law degrees but the industry of PR changes so rapidly that academia acts as the foundation.
It has always been in my interest, in my 3rd year (although technically 4th taking my sandwich year into account) to write a dissertation which causes students and lecturers alike to broaden their sphere of thinking. Although writing such a document does have issues. For instance it is far easier to highly mark a dissertation simply regurgitating common thought.
I like to think back to an instance at Microsoft where an employee told us of her dissertation written in the late 1970s. The title was, ‘How the internet will change the world’. Within the pages she painted a picture where each household will use the internet to socialize, to share content and to purchase goods. The lecturer dismissed the idea and marked the dissertation down. This not only showed me that it is important for lecturers to remove their personal opinions from marking but be willing to extend their ideas outside of the academic box which dictates our slowly evolving modules.
Whenever I am left alone for a period of time I find it all too easy to slip into a frame of mind which I would regard free of the distractions of the modern world. On Wednesday I will be leaving this small French village to continue work at Microsoft again in the hustle of London. London far too easily ticks over each day. This leaves very little time to consider how industries will change in the next 10 years.
It has taken me roughly 2 years to decide what my dissertation subject will be on. I have had to consider which stance I would take – Would I dare be visionary? Should I settle with common dissertation subjects? Shall I tip toe around possible controversy?
Ultimately I have decided to be honest with who I am and what I believe the future will hold for Public Relations. I have already done a multitude of research and have discovered that my view of how the Public Relations industry will progress has not yet been discussed. Although there are many academic pieces of writing which could be used in favor or against my stance.
So depending on what the University sets out for us (although I am confident my approach will be so diverse and have the ability to settle concrete guidelines at the same time) I have decided my dissertation subject. I shall spend my free time researching and begin the first stages of the writing process.
At this early stage I won’t reveal the ‘title in planning’ of my dissertation as I would like to make some progress on it first before anybody else does. This might sound slightly selfish, perhaps arrogant but some ideas are worth protecting in the finite.