Every once in a while, I write about my actual life up here. Somehow I always thought something bad would happen if I revealed too much about myself up here. Blogs are public and open to the world and anyone can see them no matter what.
However, when I wrote about my professor at UMass Boston, Pepi Leistyna dying, suddenly everyone paid attention to this blog. I didn’t write about him for that reason, but it felt good to write about someone I knew and get my true feelings out there about him.
I guess Pepi opened the floodgates for me about writing about myself and in particular my experience of going to UMass Boston. What’s making me suddenly so philosophical? I had my graduation dinner from my program yesterday and I snapped some photos of my lovely classmates, which I will post in below.
But first some musings. The graduation dinner was in Marina Bay, in Quincy, where I have never visited before, despite living in this city for seven years. Never been there?? Check it out:
That first photo is of the UMass campus from the restaurant we were eating at. My parents were with me and as I looked at the campus, I told reminded my mom about how it had always been my dream to study in Boston. We also reminisced about how when I was 18, we’d come to Boston for me to go to an accepted candidates weekend at a university that shall remain nameless and it was so terrible that we actually left and sat in Harvard Square for the rest of the day.
A dream delayed I guess. But I did end up studying in Boston at UMass Boston, a school I didn’t even know existed until I lived here for a while. I guess we gotta get back to the title. I cannot stress how little I actually wanted to back to school after graduation school one but the past doesn’t matter and you don’t know anything. When I showed up to my first class at UMass Boston, all I was worried about was getting all the work done for a subject I had no clue about. I had little to no knowledge of linguistics going into the degree and was fairly certain that I wasn’t going to be able to learn anything about it. You don’t know anything about how things are going to turn out.
As I went along in the program, I got to read about things I liked and was interested in and write papers on topics that fascinated me. I started to look at the world through the lens of language and culture and power. The ideas were learned about in applied linguistics program were things that I had thought about for years but could never put a name to. Suddenly, there was an area of study and names to all of these ideas that I knew were valid.
Studying applied linguistics also took me out of the political frame of mind I had always been in. I had always seen the world along political lines, liberals and conservatives but suddenly none of that mattered. It was who had the power that mattered and that made the world a lot easier to understand for me.
The program also affected me on a personal level. I found some really excellent friends that helped me through some tough times in the program. In the first class I ever took in the program, my professor told us not to talk to anyone else in the class about our midterm. I thought to myself “who am I going to talk to??? None of these people are going to be my friend.” It turns out that one of the people from the class has become a very dear friend.
The program was a welcome respite from my work life too. When I was doing the program, my work life got turned upside down and inside out and school was a place I could go to excel and shine when I felt down about work.
I guess my dream to study in Boston was a dream delayed but a dream ultimately fulfilled in a different way than I had thought. It all turned out OK in the end!!!!
Congratulations to my fellow classmates!!!!