September 2nd, 2016

visor sneer

개강에 대한 생각

First week of my third semester of graduate school. This week though... good lord. This entry is going to be a bit scattered, bear with me please.

Monday I had class 3-6, 한국현대문학사연구 (history of modern Korean literature). Four people in that class, one final paper, two presentations (which may just be analyses of poems/books? Not quite sure yet). The prof is quite nice so I think it'll be a good class. Unfortunately, it's only history of literature from the 1910s-1940s. Kind of disappointed, since I am far more interested in literature from the 1970s to now. Interestingly, much of the content of the class (at least 3-4 days) were actually lessons that the professor did last semester, so I've already studied it.

After class, I met up with another professor because I had questions/concerns. After we talked, I left, basically feeling like a moron, because I'd pretty much wasted his time - he didn't have anything to do with anything I'd asked him. I just... things in Korea are frustrating. That's all. I ended up contacting the department student representative, who gave me a little info about signing up for an advisor. He also looked over the list of classes I've taken/sign up for and told me - wait for it - that I was wrong. I didn't need to take 8 classes/1 outside of my major to graduate, I need to take 6 classes/2 outside of my major. Are you fucking kidding me?

Basically, I was planning to take 2 grad/1 prereq classes this semester and 2 grad classes next semester. Turns out that's unnecessary - if I just take 3 grad/1 prereq this semester, I'm done with classes, and I'll be able to focus on my thesis next semester. On the one hand, I was planning on finding a Korean tutor and studying twice a week this semester, and if I pick up another class, I won't have time to do that (probably). On the other hand, I'd rather spend next semester focusing on my thesis and nothing else. On the other other hand, four term papers. Ugh.

Anyways, so I then spent the evening debating if I wanted to add another class - which I decided would be the continuation of the semiotics class from last semester. I find semiotics/cognitive linguistics very interesting, particularly in terms of how you can apply it to literature, but it's hard enough to study in my own language, let alone a second language. But I was still unsure if I wanted to put myself through that again.

Tuesday I submitted the document to get an advisor, which was ridiculously confusing. I also had my class from 3-6, the semiotics class (which is listed as a "Literature Seminar"). So here's what the semester looks like: it's a team-taught class again. One prof is doing Kovecses' "Language, Mind, and Culture", another prof is doing the SAME EXACT BOOK - SAME LESSONS - on Charles S. Peirce's semiotics that we did last semester. Half the damn class will be identical to last semester! I'm like... conflicted, honestly. I was hoping to do another book this semester on the same topic, to give a slightly different view on the subject - to kind of fill in the missing parts, if you will. That being said, I'm not hating not having to study SO ridiculously hard this semester. I can try to get a hold of another resource and hopefully it'll clarify things for me. I ended up deciding to stick with the class.

Wednesday I had class 9-12. It's called "Early-modern Korean poetry" but it's more of a history of modern Korean poetry class - and not just that, but it's going to be led by the students, basically; we bring in a list of poets we want to study more in-depth and that'll determine the syllabus. I'm a little concerned, because analyzing poetry is hard enough in English, let alone having to do it in Korean. You need to know EVERY single word. I can't just read a Korean poem and immediately have an opinion - I need to sit, translate a few words, contemplate for a while, and then maybe I'll have something to say. I dunno. It has the potential to be an interesting class- or an awful one. We'll see.

Thursday I didn't have any classes. I started reading a book for my Friday prerequisite class. In the evening I met up with Yongkuk for dinner/chilling (or whatever it is we're doing), and then after he left I met up with Kay and Nick and we went to a coffee shop that's known for its cotton candy drinks, and we watched Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday while discussing my whatever-it-is with Yongkuk. Because, confusion.

Today, Friday, I had my last class from 12-3, the undergraduate/prerequisite class. 문학비평, or "Literary Criticism." It seems to be nothing but books from the 2000s, which I'm down for. Not a lot/any? papers, which confuses me/pleases me greatly. One guy I knew from the goddawful classical novel class last semester was also in the class. It has the potential to be a good class, I guess. I am worried because, well, I shine in analysis. But we don't seem to be doing much analysis...

I skipped out on the department dinner and got pasta at the great pasta place by HUFS back gate with Kay and Nick. Then we took a walk around Kyunghee uni and got ice cream. The hot weather has finally started to cool off, at least just a little, so it was a nice walk. Now I'm sitting here writing this entry.

The semester has the potential to be really, really intense. It also has the potential to be pretty easy. I think my big goal for the semester is to write the final paper for my semiotics class in the next few weeks. Like, before the semester really even begins. That means I need to find a poem, analyze, and start writing the shit out of that paper. If I could get to the last few weeks of the semester and only have 3, or better yet, 2 final papers, well, I'd be fucking thrilled.

A couple other things: I signed up for the Foreign Service Officer Test for October 1st. Not feeling like I'll pass or do particularly well, but it's worth a try, right? And my graduation exams are sometime around October 15-17, which scares the shit out of me. Also, it's official- since I changed my diet back in April, I've lost 6kg! I am officially 2kg away from the weight I've said I was for the last 5 years! Soon I won't be lying anymore! Hallelujah!
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