Simon Says: #ThatMomentWhen a research participant reminds you that you’re a good person

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A cold and rainy day on Wall Street. Photo: Tara L. Conley (2015)

A lot has been going on in my life. A lot of not-so-good things. Is Mercury retrograde over yet?

While transcribing an interview from a conversation I had a few months ago with one of my research participants, I was reminded that my life still matters, and equally as important, that I *really* need to finish this dissertation. Mercury retrograde be damned.

The following is an excerpt from a conversation with a 19-year-old male from Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. I’ll call him Simon. This conversation occurred six months into data collection.

Tara: If this is the last time we ever speak, what is the one thing you want me to take away from this conversation?

Simon: That you have this charm to you. No real talk! Like you have a charm to you. Like, I be happy to see you everytime I see you.

Tara: It doesn’t have to be about me! That wasn’t the point of me asking the question but that’s real sweet though.

Simon: Like you real cool. That’s the last thing I’d tell you! That you’re a very good person. That you’re very cool. That you’re charming.

Tara: Likewise. The feeling is mutual.

Simon: Thank you.

Tara: Do you have any questions for me?

Simon: When are you going to finish your dissertation?

#ThatMomentWhen social science research is cathartic. To be continued…

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