Scholarly Pursuits

28 Sep

t’s been a month since I landed in Chengdu. Somehow, time moves both faster and slower here in China. I’ve well and truly settled in, although my room does need a bit of brightening up with posters and the like. My schedule has mostly solidified at this point and my classes have finally gotten interesting, i.e. we’re not spending the entire lecture on “how to write an essay” and “plagiarizing is wrong” and “this is the proper way to cite properly” and “if you do not cite things properly, it is plagiarizing, which is wrong”, and my ultimate favorite, “do not copy words directly from a book, this is plagiarizing, which is wrong, NUMBSKULLS”.  (I may be paraphrasing.)  This was given to a class of undergrads, so I’m fairly certain the teacher’s had a problem with this before.

Here is where everyone gets insanely annoyed about my course load: I only have two regular classes. Yes, you read that right – two classes a week. A paltry four hours in total.

Tuesday morning is Cultural Anthropology with Professor Xu, my advisor.  It’s a class full of History grad students, and we actually have discussions.  Prof. Xu has this weird habit of playing absolutely random movies with bizarre special effects from the early nineties.  I have no clue what’s up with that. Thursday afternoon is Ancient Chinese culture, a class for undergrads in the Tourism majo.  I don’t know why Sichuan University decided that the Tourism department should be attached to the History one, but it is.  So for those of you playing along at home, I belong to the Department of History and Culture (Tourism).  I’m kind of amused at how they’re just an afterthought, even in their own depatment. Wednesday night I used to have a rotating lecture series, but I stopped going after Professor Xu stopped giving her lectures on Tibet. I’ve taken about a dozen courses on modern Chinese culture already, it’s getting a little repetitive at this point.

The rest of the week is spent doing whatever the hell I want. I spend a lot of time knitting and listening to the “History of Rome” podcast.

I’ve been told by Prof. Xu that since she’s going to be in Tibet doing field research for two weeks starting in October, that I will have a reading assignment. That’s it. A measly reading assignment – in English.

Somehow, I’ve managed to get the easiest course load a grad student has ever thought of. I feel like I need to make an offering of food and incense at the closest temple or something.

Oh well, I’m enjoying the laid-back pace, even if I feel like I’m forgetting something huge. (It’s that stupid “Protestant work ethic” all Americans have, I’m sure.) I’m still not sure if I want to continue in Asian studies after this year. It seems like a good time to reflect and contemplate on my options without having a back-breaking course load consuming my high brain functions.


One Response to “Scholarly Pursuits”

  1. Dad September 28, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

    So would it kill you to take a business course or two? maybe doctor, a lawyer even? (said in a NY Jewish drawl) Time to volunteer to help other students and professors or ask to attend classes / lectures for other areas – grad students in other disciplines used to sit in on engineering classes regularly no cost or obligation, they just asked the professor and started coming to class. At Columbia there were always drop-ins attending and participating in the MBA classes all it cost was time.

    Made the red wine cake with Merlot – sooo good

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: