Wednesday, March 18, 2009


In about two days, Lent term will come to a close, and the teaching part of my degree will basically be over. From now on, it's five weeks!! of break, followed by six weeks of revising for exams (this is weird to me: Americans say revising to mean editing, Brits say revising to mean reviewing) followed by exams followed by finishing up my dissertation. The whole things come to an end September 1st, by which time, hopefully, I will have a damn job! Somewhere in the world.


It's funny because it's all gone by so fast, and yet I've changed so much in that time. My brain seems to have absorbed more than I thought possible for it to absorb. As a result, opinions I held in October changed in December, and changed still in February.

Is that weird? We're told by society that we're not supposed to change our mind about things. It's weakness of character, or flip-flopping, or something equally damning. We are supposed to figure out our principles and then stick with them.

And yet, I can't help feel, that if I hadn't stayed flexible in these past months, I would have gotten a whole hell of a lot less out of school. My opinions have changed somewhat, yes, but my opinions HAD to change. I've been exposed to so many ideas, so many new thoughts, so many different people.

I've listened to Colombians talk about Mayor Penalosa. I've listened to Brazilians talk about how they felt about the Amazon. I've listened to Mexicans talk about the United States, and I've listened to Europeans talk about India. I sat in a student government meeting where a motion to support "Free Tibet" almost failed to pass because the Chinese Society strenuously opposed it.

And all this listening has seeped deeped into me. I've gradually started to realize that pretty much everything in life is complicated. That even climate change can't be seen in black and white.

It's still too early for me to say what all I'll take away from this experience. But I hope what I do take away from this is the ability to listen to both sides of a debate. The ability to connect with people from all around the world. The ability to communicate.


Green Bean said...

What an amazing experience. And I think the ability to change opinions is not a sign of weakness but of an open mind. We need to change our stances, sometimes, when we are exposed to different thoughts, ideas and evidence. Congrats.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Good for you, it sounds like it's worth all the studying and effort and upheaval!