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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Facing the truth

It's been another of those "landmark days" today.

The focal point was our comprehension class, in which we were given back the scraps of paper with last week's translation attempts on.

I did pretty appallingly. It was quite depressing, although it took some time to sink in.

The next few hours were spent with a Japanese friend. It was interesting observing my confidence slipping away, my voice becoming quieter, the ends of my sentences never making it beyond the thought stage, verb conjugation attempts stopping as I reached the extremity of the masu stem.

Tonight then has seen me indulge in a little consideration of where I want to take this. I mean, I've already made a good start in terms of establishing a daily routine of study and so forth, but as was demonstrated today, I readily set that aside when other 'more important' things crop up.

I have a list of other projects to be carried out at weekends - what will be the cost of pursuing them this year? Is it a case of all or nothing? What are the hidden costs of not socialising as much as I might?

[And what will be the cost of me sticking my head out of my window and shouting at that bloomin noisy prostitute! Crikey o'riley! She seems to be of the opinion that the whole world is interested in what she has to say!]

Well, I've made my decision. I am going to claw back lost ground. I'm going to stop putting myself in the position of class-idiot, and make every effort I can to excel. I've informed two of the most influential people of this decision as well (the people who mark our papers!) in order to increase my determination that I will get back on track.

I've re-arranged the projects in my GTD program, dragging 13 of them into a new category labelled 'long term'. I've emailed the newspaper editor and told them that I won't be able to take photos for them, and have given myself permission to say no to any new 'unreasonable' demands upon my time.

It's getting the balance right that's the difficult thing. I have to be careful to not fall into a trap of selfishness, caring only for my own needs. But, at the same time, if I don't put the effort into my study that I feel it deserves, I think I will be doing both myself, and my family in Japan, a great dis-service.

Autumnal Siblings - shame that the web-browser robs it of so much of its vitality


I know that university is not just about academia, but when am I next going to be in a position to learn such a lot from so many talented professionals? I'm being given a golden opportunity here, and to pass it off for the sake of other projects which ultimately are not dependent upon any such fixed environment would possibly be a little daft.

So how about I class this as 'an experiment'. It can be carried out alongside the Daily Routine experiment, phase one of which is set to run until Christmas. In this experiment I shall work very hard on my studies, with ambitious study targets to hit. A review will be carried out in late December.

As talked about yesterday, by classing it as 'an experiment', I am increasing the likelihood that I stick to it.

If there is anyone out there who would care to comment on this decision, I would welcome your ideas. I know you're a quiet bunch though, so no pressure.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn’t it a little early in the year to be having this particular crisis? Usually (well, for me at least) the whole “Oh my God, I haven’t done enough work, what I am at University for? I need to get my priorities straight” thing doesn’t reach fever pitch until April/May time. I wasn’t too late for me but I suppose it makes a lot more sense to get it out the way now, certainly better for the blood pressure anyway, so…

I remember I had a very similar “priorities” conversation with a good friend of mine a few years ago. He had a lot of balls in the air at the time and felt overwhelmed. Basically, the easiest thing to do is to try and rank the things you want to do/are doing in order of importance to you and those around you and work down the list until you feel you are doing enough and cut off the rest. Sounds straight forward but is a lot harder than it sounds.

I’ve never been one who has taken my studies incredibly seriously, I like to learn and I like the challenge but I don’t think I’ve ever put my all into them (I’ve done well enough and I’m pretty happy with where it’s got me though) but I feel studying language, as you are, is a little different. Fact is, you could go back to live in Japan tomorrow and be able to cope there language-wise without any serious difficulties. This is the plateau-stage. You know enough to get by quite easily therefore the initial impetus of being understood and understanding is lost. Admittedly with your fiancé (!) being Japanese there is a nagging feeling that you should get even better but as she speaks perfect English it’s difficult and the onus is all on you for self-improvement (even if this does seem to becoming a recurring theme for you…). Therefore I think the decision you have made is the correct one. You won’t get the opportunity to study Japanese in such a focused, guided and professional manner again so it does really have to be your main priority if you are serious about reaching your desired goal of complete fluency.

That said, you say a lot of the things you want to do are “not dependent upon any such fixed environment”. This is true, to an extent, but you forget how different life can be outside the University “bubble”. Reality bites. At University you have flexible time, surrounded by opportunities and you have access to people/services that you would find difficulty getting access to in “real life” so remember that and don’t give up on opportunities that are too good to miss…

Hmm. That kinda sounds like I’m sitting on the fence doesn’t it? Nevermind. Basically, I agree with your decision. Oh and good luck with JET – you won’t have a problem getting on it, believe me.

By the way, I am curious, who are your “life mentors”? I see my influence (re: “the experiment”) persists…I don’t suppose I’m one of them by any chance? Hahaha

14/10/07 11:31  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thanks for your comment - appreciate it.

Yes, I thought it best to have the crisis now rather than next spring when it was a little late.

Also, I am aware of how good life is as a student, receiving generous loans and grants from the state(s), and what a different reality it is when one has to work for a living. Thus the angst in setting aside other projects. Still, the decisions been made, and I'm happy with it.

Who are my "Life mentors"? Are you one of them?!

I hope you're not seriously expecting an answer to that. There's enough ego-related trauma around here already...
(tee hee)

14/10/07 15:42  
Anonymous wasi said...

d'oh! - I just wrote a really long (read 'utterly rambling') comment here, but Blogger disappeared it!
It's gone now, but basically said something along the lines of: prioritising is definitely good, and if you've set out to succeed,a nd taken the steps to achieve that, then the likelihood is that you will.
Good luck with it all.
Wishing you oodles of will-power.

18/10/07 08:16  

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