Monthly Archives: June 2011

Milestones

Today I graduated, with honors. I have a Bachelor’s degree now. It should feel like I’ve accomplished something, like I’ve reached some sort of significant demarcation mark. I thought that when I have the actual diploma in my hands, I’d feel something, and yet I don’t think I do. It feels like I only finished Junior High, which in a sense, it is. I mean, the only bigger bit of excitement I felt today was when I filled out my preference list in my grad school application – I’ve not stopped to take a longer break, because really, there isn’t much occasion for that, in my mind. I don’t want to really stop until I reach what I’m aiming at.

A friend told me that this strange feeling of no accomplishment is probably due to me setting my goals too high. I guess, she’s right. I’ve never really considered Bachelor’s degree a goal. I mean, sure, I need it, but only because it’s on the way to becoming a scientist. However, it does feel good to be reassured that I’m on the right track, that, step by step, I can do this science thing.

I find it a bit strange when graduating people talk about how they’re unsure of what to do next or how they don’t know what job they should do, and I feel no doubt. For as long as I remember, I’ve always wanted to be a scientist. Sure, there were a lot of other things, too, but science was one thing that never changed since I was in fifth grade and I wanted to be an archaeologist (and travel to Australia to prove once and for all why dinosaurs really disappeared – and I understand now that the correct term for that would be palaeontologist, but, hey, I was just a fifth-grader then). After that, my subject of choice would change from time to time, until, as I was graduating High School, it had settled on something new-technologies-in-biomedical-research-related, which coincidentally is what I’m working on already. It feels a little … bizarre. I mean, I’m actually doing what I’ve been dreaming of doing for such a long time. That does feel like an accomplishment.

Thinking that there actually was a reason to celebrate today,

Noodle.

P.S. Now, I remember that after the first year, I was seriously considering quitting and starting over with some other subject of studies. Man, am I glad I didn’t!

Dear Young Adult Lit, Thank You for Bringing out the Ugly

More than a week ago, The Wall Street journal posted an article, which talks about how there’s too much violence, drugs and stuff in young adult literature. Quite naturally, a lot of people disagreed. They tweeted #yasaves and there were a lot of blog posts (one of my favourites). Now, the whole thing seems to have quieted down a little, but I was too busy to put my thoughts on the subject together then, so here goes.

The main point I got from the WSJ article was that there’s too much focus on ugly stuff in YA lit, and that it may somehow make the reader do that stuff and make them think that it’s OK. First off, I don’t think that most readers are that susceptible, and if they are, there’s a deeper problem there, which is not caused by reading, rather, it’s just brought to the surface. A very good point was made by many folks around the interwebs – if you don’t acknowledge something, you don’t stop it from existing. The ugly thing is still there. Talking about it helps. Reading or listening other people talk about it helps too, because it turns the ugly thing from the black unspeakable mess inside you into something definable, something that you can deal with. I mean, there’s got to be a reason why during group therapy everyone is encouraged to say whatever they’re feeling and stuff.

As for the argument that reading books containing, say, drug use or self-harm, makes one believe those things are OK and that you should do them… I haven’t read that many YA books, but the ones I did read (and that includes Melvin Burgess’s Heroin, Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting, Anthony Burgess’s Clockwork Orange) had quite the opposite effect on me. Of course, there are always going to be people who react in a destructive way to a lot of things, but, I think, if there weren’t YA lit, it would just as easily be something else.

I do think that, if nothing else, YA lit can help a reader understand that it’s OK to have dark thoughts sometimes, that it’s OK to express them by talking or writing, and most importantly that you aren’t alone.

Kind of sad that there’s only one of John Green’s books available in this forgotten corner of the world,

Noodle.

P.S. As I was trying to think of a cool title for this post, I had a vivid mental image from an animated movie called Spirited Away. There’s a black creature in it. At first it looks nice and friendly, but then it starts demanding more and more food and it becomes quite frightening, and then a girl comes in and gives the creature something so that it vomits everything out, and it gets better. I don’t really know if there’s much point to that image, but I guess it’s just another way of showing that it’s better to get everything out. Or something. It’s past midnight and I don’t know what I’m talking about anymore.

Um… Where Was I?

When I started this blog, I promised myself that I wouldn’t abandon it and would post at least every other week. Not because I have profound things to say, but because I like getting things out of my head. I notice that when I write, it makes me feel better. I often have conversations in my head, you see, and it’s quite difficult to keep the thread of thought intact in that messy place. It gets tangled and lost, and I get stuck twirling the same five statements around. It’s very frustrating. Also, I feel a little weird talking to myself. Writing it all out here makes it less weird, right?

You probably aren’t wondering what happened, but I’m going to share anyway. A while back, I wrote a little bit about my priorities. In general, though, I have just two that my Mum taught me. First, health. Second, my studies. Actually, Mum only taught me the first one. I set the second one myself. And, well, they both took over for a while there. So, now, that I have pretty much the full use of both of my arms and hands again and my Bachelor thesis is defended, I can finally take a breather and do things I enjoy, disentangle my thoughts, and stuff.

Entangled in twenty different balls of yarn (so to speak),

Noodle.