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Tiger in the Stacks (and a really good earworm)


I’m Michelle Callaghan, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our new column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.

Rising up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances

The time has come. Fall break has come and gone and Halloween is well behind us. It’s proposal time. It’s research time. It’s time for the endless revving and the uphill running to the finish line.

Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet
Just a cat and her will to survive

At this point, you have probably glanced at your syllabi. You know what’s coming. You maybe even have a vague idea and a starting point. Procrastinate no longer—it’s time to craft those vague ideas into actionable research questions.

So many times it happens too fast
You trade your passion for glory

As a colleague of mine at a youth theater camp used to say to hesitant young actors, it’s time to “jump out of the plane.” Gone is the time for hesitation! Leap and fall! In research, just as in acting, half-acted ideas are useless—go big or go home.

“But I don’t want to. I don’t even know where to begin,” you say. That’s because you’re a perfectionist. Do you have a brain? Of course you do! Then you have ideas. If you’re waiting around for your ideas to autonomously reach a point of clarity in your brain, stop. Real thinking comes when you start writing, when you start producing. I’m not a gambling lady, but I would bet that any so-called concrete ideas you start out with will hit the cutting room floor come final editing.

Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive

So leave those doubts behind and get to work.


It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of our rival

DRAMATIC BUILD-UP! Sit down in your thinking chair and think, think, think (all you 90s kids better get that reference).BluesClues

EXPLOSIONS! Use some subject guides.Explosions

SLOW MOTION TRAINING MONTAGES! Go see some librarians.Rocky

And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watching us all with the eye…

Tiger with Papers

…of the tiger.

And, uh, hand things in on time, too. Kind of important.

 Now go get ’em.

Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.



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Last Modified: November 6, 2014

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