The girl, Kate, was sitting across from her with a notepad, reading off a list of possible fields she could research in to for her dissertation; 'Has the portrayal of non-heterosexual sexualities changed in literature and film since gay rights became law?' Every so often she would glance up at Alex, explaining why she had chosen that particular angle or text. Alex nodded, taking notes herself. The idea needed work of course, but the foundation seemed strong and she found herself interested in the aspects and recognising some of the texts Kate had chosen.
"...And, that's it. So, what do you think?" She looked up at Alex expectantly.
"I think you need to cut down your area of study; you seem to have given yourself a lot to do and I don't think you'll be able to fully explore everything like that. But, I think it's a really intriguing idea, and it's a great study. I think your text choices are good and I'm looking forward to seeing how you explore them..." Alex glanced down at the notes she had made. "...yes. So I would suggest that you need to have a strong introductory chapter with definitions and explanations of the sexualities you are studying... perhaps the rest could be split in to two other chapters; one studying texts before the gay rights movement and others tracking the progression? Or, the introduction could cover texts before, along with historical factors, and the next chapters could be dedicated to a text each... with a time gap between them. Either one would probably make it easier for you to structure your point-" She looked up and found Kate with what looked like a smirk on her lips. "Anything to add?"
"No." Kate twirled her pen around her fingers and jotted down some notes. "I was just thinking you look enthusiastic about this..."
"... Well I should think that would be a good thing."
"It is." Kate tapped the pen against her lips and smiled.
Alex stared at her, a little flustered. She'd never had anyone be this confident in their first dissertation meeting.
"Anything you want to ask?" She responded, deciding that this girl was putting on fake confidence. She was right.
"Um..." Kate chewed the end of her pen and glanced down, suddenly flustered. She'd been determined to get through this without looking like the amateur she was. "Do you have any suggestions for secondary reading?"
"Several. I can bring them in for you." Alex replied recovering. "Some of them anyway. Others will probably be in the library."
"Okay. Thanks." Kate shrugged and pulled back her confidence. "So is that everything?"
"It appears to be."
"Alright. See you in seminars." She smiled and stood up.
"Yes you will. Goodbye." Alex turned back to her desk and began tapping at her laptop. Kate stared at her dismissing posture for a minute and then shrugged again and left. Alex took a deep breath. Strange girl.