Thursday, September 08, 2005


I apologize for the lack of update. I promise that it has been for good reason.

My classes are really hard. Any one of you who reads this and knows me well also knows that it takes a lot for me to make that statement. Let me tell you – these classes are whipping me into shape. I have studied more for one of these classes than I have for my finals in the states. I don’t think I should ever have a problem studying for class in the states again. The past few days, I have studied in most of my free time. The rest of that time was spent at meals. Allow me to provide for you an example of what the past few days have been like for me.

Yesterday, I awakened around 7.30am. It took me a while to get acclimated to being conscious, and by that time, I was already on my way to class. I started class at 8.30am and heard nothing but Chinese for the next four hours. I did exercises in class that I still didn’t understand fully after all of the voluntary homework and extra study I had done the night prior. Luckily, I felt a slight bit of improvement over the day before, so I was encouraged.

After class, I met my friends for lunch as has become customary as of late. After lunch, my friend Donny and I decided to study together so we wouldn’t be tempted away by our computers. The computer is the enemy of study, by the way. I’m sure you already knew that, but I am here to tell you definitively. We studied at the library for about three hours after lunch, and then decided to take a short break to let our minds digest everything, and our stomach to digest the “ice cream” we were preparing to feed them (“ice cream” is a whole separate post. Oh man.). After the break, we went back to the dorm to study more before dinner. I think that period of study was about an hour and a half, or two hours. It gets difficult to keep track of. Then we went to dinner with friends, and after coming back, studied another hour.

If you lost track, that was six hours of studying yesterday, and that was just for a normal class. Donny was preparing a grammar lesson, and I was preparing my listening lesson and memorizing characters. I feel like some kind of Chinese-studying robot.

I feel like I must have really slacked off the past two years with the how important studying is here. The thing that really gets me about my Chinese lessons, though, is the amount of off-the-record stuff we have to know. We get lists in every class of new vocabulary, so it adds up to about 50 every two days when you subtract the overlapping words. However, in every class, we get a huge list of more words that we’re just supposed to be reviewing on our own. You have to make sure you get them down when they come up, or else you’ll be lost the next day. I, fortunately, figured that out from the outset and have managed to not get too lost in new vocabulary yet. But seriously, from yesterday alone, I got an extra fifty words to know, in addition to words I should have already known that I had to write down to learn.

I’m studying so much that I’m falling asleep doing it by the end of the night. I have never looked forward to a weekend so much in my life. And I was going to say something else here, but I forgot because I started thinking about characters. I even had a dream about brush strokes covering over the earth during one of my studying catnaps yesterday! I figure that I’m probably learning a lot, but I also think that my mind must have a saturation point for taking in unprocessed information. I’m so glad Friday is soon.

If I can’t speak, understand, read, and write Chinese by the end of this year, everyone needs to seriously reevaluate their perceptions of my intelligence.


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