Confessions of a Historian-Lostie

Yes, I’m a Lostie – one of those horribly addicted fans of ABC’s Lost. But to be up front – I consider myself a major fan, but never quite found the time to take it to some of the levels that the best fans did, such as spending time each week on the message boards, checking out the tie-in games, reading endless spoilers, etc. Occasionally, I made it to these fun things, but really, I spent most of the six-year run using Lost as one of my relaxation techniques for grad school.

When Lost began, I was in the middle of applying to grad school. I was working full-time in corporate America, and Lost became something that a few co-workers and I could discuss each week. Somewhere in the midst of season 1, I got my acceptance phone call. And it was all awesome.

By the time Season 2 rolled around, I was knee-deep in reading books and trying to survive Year 1 and Imposter’s Syndrome. I was hellbent on finishing the PhD in five years (our program website suggested this was doable, and I wanted to hit that goal). For four straight years, I joked that I would finish grad school when Lost finished.

Yesterday, Lost came to an end, but I’m still pecking away on that dissertation. And that’s okay. I think I tweeted that it would’ve been a little too much sadness to end both grad school and one of my favorite television series both in the same weekend.

In a lot of ways, Lost has little to nothing to do with history – unless I wanted to talk about the Dharma Initiative in the 1970s or something, which could be way too much fun – but it has to do with my own personal history. The Lost journey is over, although I think for a lot of us the questions have only begun. But that maybe be exactly where the historian and the Lostie collide: we’re all about the questions.

A year from now when I graduate with PhD in hand, the grad school journey will be over, but the questions will keep coming. Because what I love about being a historian is quite similar to what I loved about Lost: great storytelling possibilities and the endless search for meaning.

I’ve got way more than six seasons of questions and possibilities in me. Somehow, I don’t think I’ll ever stop questioning.


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