In the final post about my first fieldnote experience, I describe a student’s hair (in about 350 words) and reflect on my fieldnote taking experience (also around 350 words).
When my eyes fell on him, I thought I was looking at a Who. He was with two other people, a white female and a Hispanic male (both of normal, un-Whoville descent) and they were making their way over to the art section. They all seemed to be around college age. He was a white male, aged around twenty. The bottom portion of his hair was cut shorter than the top portion, not quite a buzzed-cut, but not much longer. If the definition of a mullet is business in the front, party in the back, his hair-style was a Remix Mullet: business on the bottom, party on the top: the top portion of his brown hair was heavily gelled, and for good reason. Without it, he would not have been able to achieve the full effect. The top portion of his hair resembled a blow-out and was combed down in thick portions with visible streaks coming down as if in layers. His hair toppled over his forehead in a slight curl, much like that of a Who. The way it came over his forehead reminded me of the sloping mountain tops from The Grinch – curled at the top in a slight wisp, almost
resembling the way icing curls at the end of each stroke. Adding to his Whoville appearance, he had a short, upturned nose. Combined with the outlandish hairstyle, his nose sealed his place in Ron Howard’s film. As stated, two other people accompanied him. The female that he was with seemed to be the leader of the pack. They were all crowding around the art section of the bookstore, and she seemed to be calling the shots, telling them what to do and where to go. Her own hair was a reddish-brown, and the Who did not leave her side. The other male with them stepped away for a bit, coming back a minute later. He seemed as though he wanted to give them space, leading me to consider the possibility that he might be a friend or third wheel. The Who’s outlandish hairstyle caused me to wonder about his personality: it takes a certain type of person to have a hairstyle as unique as that, and I wondered what other parts of his life he treated with as much charisma and spunk.
Reflecting on the bookstore fieldnote experience, there are some things that I need to work on and some things that I did well. First, it is clear that I need to be more assertive in approaching people. Even though there were two moments where a single student was browsing the shelves, I did not feel comfortable enough to approach either one and start asking questions. When there were groups of two or more students, approaching them was completely out of the question. I do think that a large part of my shyness was related to the fact that my classmates and professor could see me. I would have felt more confident approaching people if I were totally on my own. In being on my own, I would not be worrying, “Am I doing this right? Do I look okay?” I would just be able to get out there and do it without feeling like I had an audience. I do feel that when I get out into the field, I will be more confident and assertive, for many reasons. One, this was my first time actually going somewhere to take notes. I will be able to build on this experience with growing confidence. Second, when interacting with someone in a setting that is not artificial (that is, this field note taking experience was limited to the parameters of class and therefore did not feel like “my own,” natural experience), I will feel freer to express myself. (Ironically, I do not know for sure that my classmates or professor were looking at me, but because I could see them, I automatically became the insecure teenager who walks into a room and feels that everyone is staring at her,)
One of the things I felt I did well was the way I took down information. That is, my area included dorm items and
school supplies. Lots of small, little odds and ends. Rather than taking down every little thing, I summarized somewhat by mentioning the larger categories such as “electronics” and “school supplies,” and then wrote down the “stand out” supplies from each category.
Lastly, my area did not get a steady amount of traffic. The entire time I was there, there were about seven people who entered, vastly fewer from the amount of people downstairs. Therefore, despite my lack of approaching people, there was less of an opportunity for a conversation to take place. Looking over my field notes, I took down a lot about the environment, but did not get a chance to try to capture a conversation other than the male who thought I worked at the bookstore. I am eager to test out taking down dialogue in a full conversation that lasts longer than a few seconds.
Knowing my goals, I am ready to go out into the field and put those goals to work.