Hello World!

Finally! The blog is up and running.

I have been thinking about starting a blog for several months now. The delay is mostly due to procrastination, and I can’t help but think about all those missed opportunities to blog about the time-sensitive interesting things I have encountered. Anyway, now that the blog is up, I should spell out what I intent to do here.

Why ‘inside the ivory tower’? The idiom ‘the Ivory Tower’ according to phrases.org.uk means a state of sheltered and unworldly intellectual isolation (Wikipedia does not mince its words on this one). It originated from the biblical book ‘The Songs of Solomon’. Apparently the term alludes to the ‘unworldly isolation’ that academics shut themselves in, a situation I am increasingly finding myself in as an aspiring scholar. The blog title therefore seemed ideal.

As a Kenyan grad student of economics living in Germany, I have experiences that I would like to write about, partly to tell the story for the sake of the story, and to improve my writing skills and increase my committment to writing regularly. Seniour academics recommend that as a grad student, it is important to develop the practise of writing regularly (as the academic career is mostly about thinking and writing anyway), and a blog provides a non-threatening, low-pressure platform, at least in the initial stages (before you get famous, i.e. is you actually do).

So I will be writing on various topics (as my tagline implies). First, I am interested in the topic of innovation and economic development, especially innovation in developing countries. My PhD thesis is on this general topic anyway. Hopefully this blog can help me to put my raw thoughts on the topic out there, and brainstorm and develop ideas further. Therefore a lot of what I will be saying here will be half-baked.

Secondly, I need to narrate my experiences surviving grad school. As a second year PhD student, I have found the grad school experience to be treacherous, onerous, terrifying, frustrating and lonely. At the same time, grad school is stimulating, exciting and highly gratifying (yeah, obviously I’m looking for the right adjectives here). Many of these experiences in their current shape, form and magnitude are new to me, and I feel that documenting them will be helpful both for me and other aspiring grad students, especially those coming from a background similar to mine.

Thirdly, living and travelling in Europe has been both exhilarating and exasperating. This is my first time living outside Kenya for an extended period of time, and I consider this opportunity a great privilege. I have a lot to say about my positive (and not-so-positive) experiences living abroad. I hope I will be able to capture them here.

Then finally I like cooking, and I’ve been trying out a few European and American recipes. If I manage to cook up something interesting (read photogenic), photos will sporadically appear here :).

Good luck me!

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