After two months of research on literature under communism, I have found my past learning experience rather fruitful. Beginning by examining Marxism and later indulging into reading books related with the three generations’ struggles in China, I have gained a closer look at the stories of both my country and my family. I finished reading Mao’s Harvest and am currently working on Wild Swans and Beijing Coma. Personally, I am very fond of the last book because the author uses the perspective of a man who is disillusioned from a coma, ten years after he was shot in the Tiananmen Square protest. This book has been banned in China, and thus I found it very precious to read it here.
To a certain extent, this research project has helped me to recollect my cultural identities. In the wake of the Cultural Revolution, the careless waste of individual talents and the opposing forces that dissipated generations of hope often mortify me because in my vision, my beloved country turned into a landfill with grudge and anger. Through these readings and interviews with family members, I feel closer to my grandparents’ stories. I witness the power of resilience, my legacy of living in China.
In terms of the timeline, there could have more accomplished if I had used the time wisely. At the very beginning of this semester, I did not know what my final project would look like. My original plan was to collaborate with one of Teacher Pat’s Junior English classes, to exchange thoughts and to show some writings related with the Chinese literature. But such kind of activity will not well encapsulate my research. It took me a couple of days to come up with an additional idea, to write two pieces of fictional accounts from both a Chinese and an Eastern European perspective. If I had set up my final project at the end of the summer break, maybe I would not feel very confused during the first two weeks of this semester.
College applications are one of the major roadblocks that I have encountered on this journey. I planned to start my college essays and supplements during the summer, but the application process continues to exhaust me this semester. It is rather difficult to make room for both my independent study and my college applications. Sometimes, when I was doing my independent research, I kept thinking about my college essays. Teacher Margaret suggested that I should make a rigid schedule and set a specific time of the day only for my independent research. Since then, I realize that my independent project requires a great amount of individual commitment. Without a detailed timeline, I can easily slack off. Therefore, I ask myself to fully engage in my project for about an hour every day. Although I still cannot carry out this exercise on a daily basis, it is getting much better than the beginning of this semester. My English independent seminar not only elevates my academic understanding, but also trains my time management skills.
Looking ahead, I have set up a couple more goals. First and foremost, I want to increase my working productivity as I hope to be actively concentrated on my project. Having good working habits will help me to read more, learn more, and think more. Furthermore, I want to finish my first fictional short writing by the end of Thanksgiving break so that I can move on to East European literature in December. I realize that I might have not so much time for my study on East Europe, and thus I hope to continue my research during Christmas break. Last but not least, I want to generate a reading list for my Eastern Europe study soon. Given my past experience of designing a final project, I understand that it is always a good idea to do planning sooner than later.
In the end, I want to thank those who have followed my blog posts. At the beginning, I had a hard time figuring out what to write about and how to attract readers (as you probably have noticed from my first two excruciatingly long yet redundant posts). But your comments encourage me, help me develop a blogger’s voice, and inspire me with new insights. I will continue to polish my writing skills!