Sunday, April 11, 2010

Identifying with Someone at the Same Stage

I come from a family of incredibly independent people.

Until about the age of 15 or sixteen in fact, - we could not really get along as a group. We were very divided and there were factions. My two oldest sisters got along well...ish. My brother and my second oldest sister got along famously. I sort of got along with my oldest sister, but our relationship was never what you might call steadfast.

I am a very unique person. It is true that everyone wants to be unique, and so this could just as easily be a cry for attention as anything. However, I do believe that there is no one quite like me. Yes I know this sounds arrogant, but I am quite okay with that. I do not mean to say however that I am the best.

I have not taken calculus or organic chemistry nor did I graduate valedictorian from university, but I do not take those as measurements of the quality of my life. It is mine, and I will live it as I will.

That said - let me tell you about something that I find very interesting.

Coming to China and learning oh so very much has been an incredible experience. There are many things I have learned, and many things that I will continue to learn.

The thing that I find very interesting is actually not what I would qualify as a “main idea” but more of a “supporting detail”. Sorry for the terms, but I am teaching both a reading and a writing class right now- and that is what is running through my head.

I have a friend that I work with, who is quite unlike me. As people we are definitely not the same. This friend did go to the same school as I did, also graduated early from high school and had the same major at university.

She however, identifies more as “an educator”.

Regardless of this - I have found that having her as a friend has been very interesting because we are at a very similar stage. we are both new teachers, however she has a bit more experience than I do. She is at an early stage of Chinese acquisition, and finally: we are both fresh out of college, and teaching English in China. One cant help but feel a certain degree of association in a scenario like this. We go through similar if not the same hurdles, and I am really lucky to have someone like this to bounce ideas off of.

I think the reason this whole thread/ line of reasoning has caught me as so interesting is because this stage feels so much like I imagined university would. University did not feel this way though.

I think this feels more like I imagined university would because I imagined that university would be an environment that I would be trained to do something that I could apply. That is not the real function of the undergraduate degree though. Very few people actually get to work in their field of study after the undergraduate level. Why do you think so many people take graduate studies so quickly?

Some call it “hitting the snooze button on life”, but I dont think that is the case. Yes you are deferring the time that you actually have to “get to work you smelly hippy”, but I think that a certain portion of the population who look for graduate studies right away, are simply seeking for a way to feel like they know their subject well enough to do something worth while. And that is no bad thing.

(PS any of you grammatically concerned people who think I shouldn't have started a sentence with “And” -- it is a discourse (big picture) level conjunction and perfectly legal in spoken English so quit trying to tie me down!)

Back to my topic.

As we were both heading home from an adventure with some mutual friends that day, we were biking. If you have read my other blog about “Tour de Zhengzhou” - you will understand the significance of that. This friend will be going back to Canada to work for the summer :P - and will have the great fortune to teach with other teachers and essentially shadow, watch, and participate with them in the act of teaching. It is almost guaranteed to be a valuable experience. I know she will make good use of it.

You are probably wondering why I am writing about someone else: particularly a girl.

In answer to your ponderings / questions (particularly those of my beloved aunt!): No.

The real reason I am writing about someone else is because I think it is really interesting that I finally feel like I can identify with someone else. I don’t feel like I need to justify some way that I am different. I do not feel like I need to explain how our situations are so very different. I have simply come to this place where I have no problem admitting that our situations are in fact quite similar, and I am very excited that she gets to take this situation, and this context and really use it as a time to grow. I however am eyeing the next door, and looking at what tango steps I need to do to get across the dance floor to it.

This is healthy. I dont feel like I am in the “wrong place” for the time. I know this is where I need to be for this stage, but I don’t think this is where I need to be for the long run. My goals as it stands are to learn as much about this game, and then move on to the next one when I am content with what I have learned.

This ain’t my royal ball Cinderella ~ I wish you the best of luck.

1 comment:

  1. "(particularly those of my beloved aunt!): No." Haha, so true!