Somebody (I forget who) said this to me once about higher education: "you just keep on knowing more and more about less and less until eventually you know absolutely everything about nothing."
I was talking about this issue today with some friends. A few of us expressed concern about specializing within our specific feilds. I, for one, feel a little bit of anxiety about choosing a specific area and then getting that label for the rest of my academic career. As I put it to Becky,
"we're worried about committing to being a ____ scholar for our entire lives." Even for a semester or a few years I feel ill equipped to select a topic to study enough to speak with authority on.
One reassuring thing my dad often reminds me, though, is that just because you do one thing now, it doesn't keep you from working on other stuff in the future, and his scholarship is a prime example. This releives my thesis anxiety a little, but not entirely. It's a daunting task to pick something that will be original and fruitful and interesting and supply me with the minimum number of nervous breakdowns.