Tuesday, July 27, 2010

To keep learning, always.


Semester Two started today and walking to campus I felt the same old thrill. The rush that comes from knowing that I get to sit and listen to someone talking at length about something that they're passionate and knowledgable about, and the familiar jolt as what they're saying triggers a million responses in my head which I try to capture whilst listening with another ear to the ongoing lecture.

Sometimes when I meet new people and we do the inevitable 'so what do you do?' dance, they look perplexed when I tell them that I've started this program. "But why?" and "how long does that take, a year?" And in the face of my explanation that it's because 1. I love to learn and 2. three and a half years, if you're super organised, they look even more surprised. "Three years? What will you do afterwards... I mean, what does that make you?"

I want to reply that the purpose of doing the PhD is to do the PhD. That it's the learning, the researching, the delicate fight to make the writing right, the meeting of like-minded souls who want to sit together to deeply contemplate the hows and whys, and the rigour of finding motivation somewhere, anywhere to be disciplined in the face of offers of coffee meet-ups and gallery wanderings ("but you're just at home, aren't you?")
I want to reply that the goal is the pleasure of doing the thing itself. 

I can't see what lies at the end of the next three or four years and I'm happy to leave that discovery to whenever I get there and, in the meantime, to soak in every single moment of this enormous challenge. Today I learned a few new terms to pepper my prose with ('citizen's media'; 'individuated' and, my favourite, 'technate' which I think means to be literate with technology?) and was presented with the notion that a few of the precepts we base our understanding of the internet on- such as that it democratises knowledges and  allows us to enact communities across the globe- are not actually accurate. I can't wait to delve further into this!

And as I walked to the library to borrow the textbook before any of the other nerds could beat me there (made it! yesssssss!) I literally felt a bounce in my step. How fortunate am I to be able to access education like this- to simply sit and listen and learn for a time? So, so fortunate. I hope I never lose a sense of that. And the best part? When I got to the borrowing desk, I got told that a thesis I've been waiting on from Oslo has arrived! It's all about the practice of dressing and clothing in Norway- and it's been flown over just for me! What a day!

No comments:

Post a Comment