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Thứ Năm, 12 tháng 8, 2010

I've made up my mind that I like sociology more than cultural studies. Cultural Studies is interesting, but it is all over the place. Trying to pursue it like holding water in a broken vase. No matter how much I try, water still leaks. Perhaps Im discouraged by a professor, too. Sitting in her class makes me feel so incompetent, and she embarrassed me in front of the whole class (my ears actually went red and I was grateful that I wore a headband instead of a ponytail that day). Sociology is clearer, at least I don't struggle that much with readings. The texts do not lead me to conclude that the author's purpose is to make readers confused. And I don't feel so helpless when I have nothing to say when other classmates compete to speak up. So, no more joint-major, I now shift to a single major in Sociology, but still, a minor in Cultural Studies.

But Im kind of worried that I don't have the mind for a sociologist. Because the most important thing to a sociologist is to see patterns in social life and try to account for, explain and if possible, change them. In other words, my job is to contextualize small things I see everyday ("reality is socially constructed", that briefly summarizes what sociology is about). I haven't been able to do that. Im wondering whether it is because I pay more attentions to details more than the whole picture. I don't know. Yet I'll get better as I read more. Marx did not have a formal education (he was evicted out of school once because of drunkenness) but he is one of the greatest sociologists of all time, if not the greatest. He read a lot. I'll read more, and I'll get better.

Im amused with myself as I seriously think about teaching in university after finishing my education. Since I was small, the idea of being a teacher used to make me ill. That is the most boring job in the world, how can people repeat the same thing, the same jokes, grading the same stuff over years and years? I did ask my grade 5 teacher that question. She told me interacting with different students is what makes the job rewarding. And now I find myself seeking information about a possible teaching position back home when Im done. I still think teaching is boring. But Im inspired by the idea of conveying what I have learnt to other young minds and contribute to the growth of sociology in Viet Nam. Is that the nobility of being a teacher that people always consider a clique? I never quite understand what it means until now. It's funny that I myself feel the urge of helping others grow intellectually. Never imagine I would one day in this position.

I like a professor very much, even before the first lecture. He waited and kept the door open for me when I was walking to the class, then I saw him in the lecture room, suddenly glad that he is my professor. Isn't it something similar to what people call "love at first sight"? Only here it's not love, but a very positive emotion. Im wondering why that kind of emotion just takes place with people over 40. Everyone Im comfortable with here (besides the VNese group) are the middle-aged and elderly. I've never become close to anyone of my age. I feel out of place because of too much awareness of differences. I always prefer to be with a 70 year old man than a 20 year old one. I can't remember if it was like that before I left home. I didn't seem to have problems with being friends with people of my age and didn't have lots of chance to act as equals (due to the age-order division of the language) with older folks. Maybe someday I'll write a book about the self and identity changing process of people who go to live in another culture when they haven't got a fixed identity for themselves. I'll make this question a chapter.

I see a lot of post-modernism elements in my friend's unfinished book. But don't know how to articulate on these points yet (better do that before he asks for comment ^^). I tend to rely on my intuition for judgment. I wait to see how I feel then try to put that feeling into words. Im really slow in judging, I don't know if it is my nature or Im the product of a combination of Buddhism and Confucianism. In all of my classes, Im required to discuss about readings, but I usually take more time to reflect than others, which makes me speak less than them (lots of times they talk irrelevant stuff or whatever comes to mind) and of course builds up in me an anxiety of getting a low mark for participation. I don't know how people can be so quick in deciding what is good and what is bad.

I have a research paper due in December, in which Im asked to track the history of an everyday-life object, like where it is made, who makes it, in what conditions, what it represents, how it accounts for social distinction. My professor was very excited when she explained about the assignment, and somehow I got excited, too. Usually I can be excited by the idea of being overwhelmed with work that I like, as when I carry a bunch of good books. I can't wait to drown myself in them. Anyway, she is such a great teacher with lots of enthusiasm. It's fascinating to see how enthusiasm in one person can actually inspire others to a great extent. Actually, she is the big reason for my choosing Sociology as a major.

Thinking about it, I always have inspiring people around, who just by letting me have a glance into their lives, push me forward.

I start missing Coco.

And I don't know what my professor is talking about :))

(the end of a daydream)

P/S: Reading Giao's note inspires me to take the effort to write this daydream down. She is one of those inspirers, too

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