Saturday, May 14, 2005

Graduation plans

After months of trying to get answers to my questions about what in the world I'm supposed to be doing in grad school and what I need to do to meet requirements, I finally got an advisor who understands that the root of the word "advisor" is "advise," and he's actually willing to fill that role. So I finally got most of my immediate questions answered, and discovered that I have two years left of grad school, which isn't a major problem (as long as I can continue to receive scholarships and such) since I like school and it will keep me busy and help the time pass more quickly while James is on his mission. In fact I should be done with school just a few months before he gets back, which will be perfect timing.

The main thing slowing me down is the need to demonstrate reading proficiency in a foreign language, since the language I have chosen is Chinese. Although serving a mission in Taiwan helped me develop speaking proficiency, the 600+ characters I've managed to learn just don't cut it for reading proficiency. (To be truly literate in Chinese, one must know about 3000 characters.) And since they don't offer the classes I need during the summer and you can't really take different levels of language classes simultaneously, and I have to take four classes to reach the required reading proficiency. Also on the bright side, there's a class that I really want to take that's not taught until Winter 2007.

The other joy of having a good advisor is that with his and another professor's help I've gotten a better idea of what I want and can do for my thesis. By studying Asian American literature, I can indulge my interest in Asian/Chinese culture, and also my interest in memory and the way people choose to remember things. Since most Asian American lit revolves around the way in which Chinese Americans "remember" or imagine Chinese culture to be, it will be an excellent way to combine my two interests. And as the professor pointed out, most people who are studying Asian American lit have no real experience with the actual culture, so that is somewhere I will have an advantage.

I have also agreed to be the head editor of one of the BYU literary student journals, Borrowed Earth. So it's going to be a busy two years!


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