Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another Funny Thing

As a rule, I have little contact with my classmates. I don’t like group study, which usually waste time. For me, self-study is my most efficient study method. In fact, it is not easy to find a good classmate who is smarter and more hard-working than you and is also kind and generous to offer help. Rather than spending time to figure out who is the right person, I prefer to use the time to self-help. Also, if you just sit over here and passively wait somebody talk with you, most likely the person is expecting help from you.

Last week, a classmate kindly talked with me. After exchanged a brief conversation, he asked my contact email and phone. I left him my email and also asked his. He is in his last semester of his MA. I told myself I was lucky this time that I might get help from this guy since his academic status was higher than me. This Monday, I received an email from him by asking my class notes. I got a little surprise. Because we were both in the class, if I could take good notes, no reason he couldn’t. Anyway, I emailed my notes to him; it hurt me nothing. In today’s class, according to the professor’s instruction, this guy voluntarily circulated his essay to class discuss. To my surprise again, his essay was very loose organized. He just completely has not idea about the structure of a college standard essay. Also, don’t you think it is funny that he started a three-page short essay like, “history is about the past.”

I puzzled how such a student is about to gain a history MA. Anyway, by encountering this example, I feel my writing skill is not so bad, and my self-confidence is suddenly increasing.

Oral Exams

A few years ago when I thought about my career in the future, I clearly knew that I preferred the master program of history in a CUNY gradual school. However, in Queens College, go gain a history MA, one must pass two oral exams. I was overwhelmed and constantly sacred by it. I even planned to give up for this reason. Later, I discussed this issue with Professor Kaplan, one of my favorite professors in QC, she told me that everybody fear of oral exams, and encouraged me to go on. In this spring, at the time I was going to graduate and must make a decision, I chose history.

I comforted myself like this: I could take oral exams in the last year of my master degree; thus, I left myself one or two years to improve my speaking. In addition, the most of the graduate courses of history is seminar. For example, the courses I am taking now are both seminar. On the one hand, seminar is a tough class format for me; I am pained by it constantly. On the other hand, it is certainly the best way for me to practice formal speaking and discussing. Holding such a belief, I started my graduate school life.

However, a definite miracle occurred lately. Yesterday, when I mentioned the oral exams to a classmate in the evening class, she told me the oral exams did not exist anymore. She said that she had a classmate who took the oral exams last year. He called himself the last one taking oral exams in this school. I was overjoyed by this news, and could not bear to wait to the next day to go the department for a double check. This morning, I went the history department and a graduate advisor confirmed it. In the whole day, I feel I am the luckiest and happiest person in the world.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My office

This week, my superior moved from the Student Union building to a set of new office rooms in the library building in QCC campus. By following her, I am given an individual office room, a desk, a computer and all the other necessary office supplies. It is unexpected, but of course I am very happy about that. When I told my friends that I have my own office in a college, they were amazed too. I wish I can take a picture in my office, and then send it to my father.I believe he must be happier and more proud than hearing I working as a cashier in a Chinese supermarket.

My superior is a pregnant middle age woman who is very nice to me. My English is very easy to be sensed even in the first contact, but she has never appeared any negative opinion on me. When I mentioned it, she replied like this, “but I know you understand everything. You have an accent, I have accent too.” In fact, she is a native English speaker; her accent is out of the question. By contrast, my English problem is certainly not only about accent, but much seriously. She said in such a polite way to make me happy. For this reason, I believe she is a very understanding and nice person. I feel I am really lucky to have her being my superior. However, I am nervous that how long her favor would last if my language capacity is lame to deal with the daily work. To perform an office job, doesn’t require one answering phone in a proper language, taking notes in correctly spellings? I suspect I can do these things efficiently. Doesn’t she suspect it too? I know I shouldn’t worry too much, but always try my best and without thinking of the result. At least, there is a good start.

A few hours later...

To study the course of Gandhi, I did a search of Yoga. Karma Yoga is one of the most important yoga paths to realize the ultimate truth. It means selfless action. Doing one’s duty without concern of results; action done without thought of gain. Yes, philosophy is indeed not a distant empty concept, but is tightly related with our everyday life.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sudent Activities Center

My new job is working in Student Activities Center in QCC. This center takes the main function to provide students a place for relax and fun. There are TVs, computers, pool, sofa, game rooms, and eating area. My job here is simple and easy. What I have done in the previous days was to watch students signing in and answer their questions about this center. Because it is not a study area, the atmosphere here is pretty relaxed. This feature is really different from the Media Center I have worked in QC.

I meet a lot of new people here, and I am trying to memorize all my co-workers’ names. It is hard to me, but I believe it is a good way to train myself to memorize new English words. Most of my co-workers, including my superior, are very nice to me. There is one who is not friendly. However, I am not a young person anymore; I have developed my way to deal with the difficulties in life. I just ignore her, and I am never annoyed by her and her gesture.

I can read my books during my work hours that is very good. If I am tired to study, I can watch TV, or talk with people. Also, in this center, I am the only Chinese speaker employee. Seem as my co-workers are all native English speakers. In addition, there are very a few Chinese students coming. Compare to other ethnic groups, Chinese take a more serious attitude to study and hold a more ambitious goal in the future. Chinese students usually go to the library rather than clubs. Staying here, I feel I finally involve into an English language environment since I have been this country many years.

Recently, I feel my English is ok to deal with daily activities, but it is certainly not good enough for formal class discuss. I wish I can gradually get improving. It is really an urgent issue because of the requirements of my current involving graduate program. However, I have to be realist, and to accept the fact that I can only get progress slowly. I don’t know others, but in my life, there is never miracle happened.