In my third year of graduate school I took a class on ethnography with friends because I had heard good things about the class, and well, lets be honest, because I wanted more time with friends I saw all too infrequently. My skepticism of the method was hard for me to disguise as I had recently completed a year of training in positivism, ah hem, statistics. Despite my inability to control my doubts I really enjoyed the class. At the end of the semester we were asked to write and present a detailed proposal for a project using ethnographic methods. I proposed a dissertation project on the deaf community's response to cochlear implants. I proposed to move to Washington, DC for a year to conduct ethnographic observations of an incoming cohort of students at Gallaudet University who would also be enrolled in a summer orientation program called JumpStart. My classmates (and instructor) all saw great promise in the project, asked many followup questions and provided much encouragement for my innovative ideas. I believe I ended that presentation by saying, "thanks, but you know this project will never happen."
Now 18 months later, here I am, in Washington, DC in the I. King Jordan Student Activities Center on Gallaudet's campus about to head out to my first round of observations at the JumpStart welcome presentation. I guess this proves I shouldn't start gambling anytime soon.
Here I go!