Things I have learned in the last week: cold-calling/emailing women to ask for interviews is nerve-wracking and terrifying...but it does work. It helps that I've contacted relevant organizations and gotten contact information for various women from them, so that when I get in touch I can say where I've gotten their email addresses and phone numbers and it doesn't seem like I've somehow found them completely on my own. So far, everyone with whom I have gotten in touch seems interested and willing to give me some of their time, which has been wonderful. I have an actual interview scheduled for next week! I'd call it my first, but I'm actually in the process of scheduling one that will probably take place this weekend. After months of planning for this (I started trying to figure the IRB requirements in early April), it seems surreal to not only be here in New York, but to actually have interviews scheduled for concrete times. I still can't really believe that it's real and happening.
I am excited and very, very nervous to meet with these women and ask them my questions, to find out what they think about being Muslim women living in the United States. I'm hoping that after a few of these interviews, I'll have a better idea about what, exactly, I want to focus my honors thesis on. I know that once I start having interviews, my free time will suddenly have a lot more purpose as I try to stay on top of transcribing and coding the interviews so that once I start writing, all that information is easily accessible and I don't have to waste precious writing time (only 8 months!) trying to figure out my interviews.
Until the first interview, and probably after it and for the rest of the summer, I will be nervous and excited to meet these women and talk to them.