@RomanticAcademic Get a research assistant (or just plain assistant) job with a faculty member in your dept. Academia is Delphic, and each field has its own eccentricities. You'll pick up so much just by working for someone already in it. Tell them you're interested in research, even if it's just to help out with someone else's. Keep a list of paper ideas, constantly adding and crossing out. Once you've gotten a feel for what's out there, discuss those ideas w/ faculty.

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