مرحبا عليكم!

I study languages.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I've been thinking a lot about what I WANT in life and whether or not those things are fair and/or achievable.
  • I want to go to graduate school.
  • I want to study linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, speech/hearing/audiology, East Asian languages, ancient Egypt, or some combination thereof.
  • I want to go to graduate school somewhere nice/good/attentive/talented, with nice/good/attentive/talented people to work with. I don't care where, but if I could choose I would choose Boston because I lived there for a while and I love Boston.
  • I don't want to go into crippling debt to pay for school.
  • I don't want to live in an atmosphere of impersonal, cutthroat competition--not because I can't compete, but because I guess I know there's more to life than being better than everybody else. I thrive on competition and always want to be my best (the best, even). What I don't like to do (a change; I used to enjoy this) is play the game, the terrible academic game that never ends and goes something like this: How many publications do you have? I don't care what it is you published; the number you say only matters in relation to how many publications I have. How many high-profile scholars know your name? How many scholarships did you get? How long is your resume? How important are you? Important enough to merit an audience with me? The trouble with this game is that it is inherently--necessarily--self-centered. There's no sincerity, and because every quantification is comparison-based, no real meaning. The game is semantics and the result sophistry. The program I want to join asks questions like What kind of person are you? How do you learn? Who have you helped? How did you help them? What brings you the strongest sense of fulfillment? Of the things you have created, which one makes you most proud? What are you creating now and what do you still need before it's finished? What do you want to create here and what do we have that will help you create it?
  • I want to teach. I love teaching.
  • I want to improve my Korean (한자, too!). I love Korean.
  • I want to read well in multiple languages. I love reading.
  • I want to write, to research and craft and present. I love writing.

I spend my free time on campus these days running in and out of professors' offices, trying to get a feel for just what exactly there is out there. I don't know these people, but I send emails and schedule appointments or just walk in and sit down and tell them about personal things like dreams and plans and I want to hear what they think and it doesn't scare me (thanks, mission). Right now I just want opinions. And I have already listened to so many. For the most part, I like talking to these people because it teaches me that there is a lot out there. Everybody convinces me a little bit and I always walk away conflicted, forgetting that the world is big and I am small, small but capable of at least some small thing, the intersection of infinite passion and a finite heart that yearns.

I talked to a prestigious professor today that told me to avoid anything Church-related when I make my applications, saying that one bad association with the LDS Church among your reviewers can send you to the bottom of the pile and that can be it. But hey. As an egalitarian, feminist, educated American, I don't know if I will let myself believe that's true. Do you really care what I believe? And if you do, would you allow yourself to be dictated by such prejudice to the point where you consciously discriminate against me? If as an employer I read that my potential employee had spent two years on the other side of the world, learning an impossible language in order to teach and serve in her church, I would admire her commitment, work ethic, and loyalty regardless of which religious branch she claimed. I guess I am projecting my attitude onto professors. But at this point, making my religion a part of my resume is not a matter of principle, it's a matter of honesty. I have a highly coveted Korean teaching job at the Missionary Training Center. I lived in Korea as a missionary for the past two years. There are gaping holes in my resume that would go unfilled if not caulked with my active religious participation. And why shouldn't I be honest? Follow your passion, do what you think will change the world regardless of what that is--just put your whole heart in and love it--that's every school's line. Right? 

Regardless. I have 한자 to translate and a 작문 to write.

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