A Professional Report

I had very little sleep during the past three or four days (Mon. to Thru.), let’s say, 10 hours in total.  But I managed to finish my readings and a short presentation.  I slept at 7 in the morning, got up at 8:45, took a quick shower, occasionally grab a piece of bread or coffee and got out around 9:40.  Classes started at 10 AM and usually ended around noon.  Then heading to the freezing-cold libraries, fought to grab the damn reserve book before anyone else; unfortunately I lost the battle.  The weather in New York has been fantastic, I would say, the bright sunshine and hot weather really warmed up my freezing body and mind.  Reading is indeed a pleasure thing; I have to admit, especially compared to the classes.  I have two graduate seminars, two quasi-seminars, a tedious Japanese class, a ridiculous English class (I couldn’t believe this! me? English requirement? what the hell!!!!!!)  The people sitting in the seminars are extremely ambitious, ambiguous, and aggressive.  I am trying to be nice and concrete here.  For instance, they were thrilled to use the word "ambiguous connotation" to describe the situation "they are not the same,” or …  I did not even know what that architectural theory guy talked about; he seemed to substitute every English word for a "verbum,"  "Carpe Diem!" that’s my comment, in his language.  Among the uncomfortable feelings, the "Bauhaus in America" triumphed by, quote, "pretentious PhD participants" from the architectural school and a slack organization of the class.  The quote came from one of my classmates; he was very emotional, smart, extremely sensitive, you know, a typical G.  The professionals, namely the intellectual adults, could be really entertaining, thought me.

Talking about the readings, I became obsessed with The Tale of Genji, the protagonist of which (yeap, one of the fancy words, meaning the main character) was described as a pervert by the American undergrad kids.  I read the English translation by Seidensticker, which was actually a quite good one.  The excessively psychological descriptions and the sentiment revealed between the words of the fleeting time, feelings and the whole world really gave me a place to relax.  I ordered a full version online.

I dislike the Japanese classes here.  Those undergraduate kids are even duller than me!  There is an interesting tip though.  The daily Japanese, from what I experienced in Japan, is more restraint, rigid and reserve than the daily Chinese.  The teaching style of Japanese, however, reverses this to an extreme.  The teachers are dancing around, intensively using body languages and gestures and making out unbelievable examples to help understand the grammar and phrases.  Certainly this unusual excitement created in class is very different from the reality, but it is also very different from that in Chinese classes, where the elder teachers try to be Confucius and the young to be ancient officials.

I literally know nothing about the early Chinese calligraphy; neither can I read the writing on those oracle bones.  My classical Chinese is evenly poor.  Therefore, guided by a foreigner, I felt very interesting to learn how to decipher those twisty patterns as if a wizard making out those cracking thousand years ago.  Though it was a little embarrassing when a German classmate naturally recited the combination of "Heavenly Stems" and "Earthly Branches," namely, the 60-year calendar cycle, while I was having trouble with matching the 12 animals with their correct year marks.  I am looking forward to seeing the REAL oracle bones in the next week.

What I learned from the past two years at Pitt pays off here; I work at my pace.  Not the non-stop reading part; every graduate student does that due to the career nature; the more you read, the more you can write.  Humanity is a dialogue between you and all the other intellectuals in the history; the only difference in the modern time is that you get paid.  So there is no sense to compete with other colleagues, or to push myself too hard.  If I did not perform perfectly, then perform poorly.  I did not have a smooth start; that’s fine; I will catch up later after I navigated thought the library labyrinth.  Right now, it is really frustrating; I cannot find anything I need. It sucks.

That’s it.  I work at least 12 hours a day and 6 days a week.  Therefore, there is not much things to say, or to celebrate about my personal life.  I continue the loser cycle.  I did not know how to cook, to get out of my financial crisis, or to talk in a normal 24 year-old female tone.  I did not get a sense of living in New York because I haven’t got a chance to explore those streets, to meet with new people or to hang out with old friends.  I eat a quality of food at night, around 11 o’clock when I get back from the libraries.  And I find a new time-killer; the Arashi, by nature the same with Kattun, but not too brainless.  I watch those meaningless programs during a long night of endless reading, as well as the welcome-back seasons of American TV shows.  I haven’t had any alcohol yet, the money is spent on books and facial masks to help my acnes and puffy eyes.

I am pretty content with my current life. 
p.s I turn off my phone when I am in classes or libraries, so basically it is an alarm clock.  To drop me an email is the fattest.

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About GloriaYuYANG

art historian, writer, a dog person, NYC-resident (not new yorker), a ph.d student of Japanese art and architecture,
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One Response to A Professional Report

  1. Lin说道:

    that’s a lot of big words there~ I can tell you’ve been doing your readings. but man it took me a year to read :PYour blog really reminds me that my school days are over. It’s a very fulfilling feeling learning new things, carrying on "a dialogue between yourself and all the other intellectuals". I envy your life with your own room, reading The Tale of Genji till as late as you want and spending your day in a prestige university library.   Have fun reading 🙂

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