I guess it is an obvious fact that four weeks into the semester, I am very busy and activities are in full swing. That is why I haven't been posting entries here every day as I used to.
But as I have this little inch of time, I would use it to open my life again and let the world have a peek in me.
Today, I spent most of the day reading. As of now, I finished reading the textbooks for LIN 543 (Semantics 2), LIN 535 (Syntax 2), and LIN 505 (Bilingualism and Contact Linguistics). All I need to read are some scattered papers here and there that are supplementary reading. And my fourth class, LIN 525 (Typology) does not have a textbook. Pretty fast for advanced reading eh?
Well, I guess that is the flaw of the graduate school system. For almost all of my classes (for this semester, three out of four), I need to write a paper. And the hard thing is, unless one is not really interested in that particular sub-field of the trade, then one has a hard time trying to figure out a possible paper topic. And only during the course of the class can one come up with a topic. But by that time, it would be too late, since it would be almost the end of the semester, and there might not be time for research, experiments, and the like.
So my solution is, advanced reading. In the beginning of the semester, I read as much as possible. And in unusual cases, like for my LIN 505, I was able to decide on a paper topic the very next day after our first meeting. That is why I am able to conduct experiments early on.
Some of my fellow graduate students voice their complaints about the system, but then, what can one do regarding the system? That is reality. That is how the semester goes, and it is just the consequence of how the educational system is structured. I guess the key to success is to find a way to overtake the system, even in small ways like advanced reading and planning ahead.
Maybe, the fact that I have these tricks made me look more exemplary to others. Actually, others have remarked that I have so much time in doing things about academics. While I was reading in the couches in the Main Library the other day, I was next to a fellow graduate student, and she remarked that she finds it surprising because I am already on Chapter 13 (the last chapter) while she is still in the beginning section of the book. She even called me a rocket linguist.
On the other hand, I do not feel that I have any special abilities, whatsoever. All I can be proud of is my ability to budget my time wisely. I guess that is the key. Being able to manage one's time and put every second to good use. That is what makes a rocket linguist.