I'm all prepped to go for my PSSM finally, which will be 3 weeks in Guizhou, one of the poorest places in China.
Honestly, the mood's a little jaded. It's been over a week since the exams ended and I've yet to have a breather, having spent most of the time continuing my work on my research and then going for a pre-trip bonding camp that was required of YEP - the organization that is funding us. For the most part, I really can't wait to finally just slack a little and enjoy the holidays.
But at the same time, I'm really keen on meeting the ethnic minorities in Guizhou and finding out about their cultures and ways of life. Culture can teach us so much and better understanding can bridge the stubborn differences between people. Learning about other cultures can teach you how small you are. I'm thirsty for that. It's just the official work to do that's a burden, and when I get back there'll still be final essay write-ups and presentations to complete.
While the pre-trip camp has mostly served to strangle me further in all the rushing I've had to do, I've gotten to know my classmates better. We roughed it out at a kampung house in Pulau Ubin for a night and it's often when you're stripped down to the rural nature of being far away from civilization that people connect on a deeper level. I found out quite a bit about their lives and also engaged in lengthy discussions about all sorts of things. Perhaps, in the first place, talking about deeper stuff is already a social science enthusiast's thing to do (and PSSM obviously does select for a more passionate bunch).
Part of the pre-trip busyness has also been due to my incessant chasing of professors for teaching assistantships in the next academic year and research assistantships over the summer. As I'm hoping for greater work flexibility (and a decent pay out at $8+ an hour) during the holidays, I've decided to fill up my schedule with work from different professors rather than take up a full time job or internship.
Additionally, with the only A+ I ever got in my entire SMU life so far coming from my just-ended evolutionary psychology module, I've finally been guaranteed qualification to embark on the senior thesis programme. I've been trying to secure my renowned evolutionary psychology professor's supervision for my senior thesis. It has been difficult because of his busy schedule but, gratefully for all sorts of (rather lucky) breaks and reasons, I managed to get his agreement and signature just two days ago. It was particularly important to secure the signature now because he was leaving for the States next week until the end of the summer, and the deadline to bid for senior thesis is in the middle of June.
With great relief I've managed to achieve both my ideal working plan (with at least five professors in tow which will hopefully be very useful for academic networking in future) and a reputable supervisor for senior thesis.
With that, I've pretty much settled all I have to settle before leaving although it's been nearly nothing but headache. But that's only resulted in loads of satisfaction for having achieved quite a number of my objectives, and I can't wait to get home to continue with the rest of summer and my plans. I'm missing the gf loads too; once I'm back we can finally do all the things we couldn't do because of all sorts of hindrances prior to our travels. Miss you to bits already girl!
One other major worry is Bangkok. The place has been reported to be in a state of chaos at the moment, and it's not really great news that part of the journey to Guizhou involves transiting at Bangkok. I hope and pray that the journey will be a smooth one.
So, if it all goes well, I'll be back on the 14th of May loaded with all sorts of new experiences and fresh perspectives.
I haven't had the time to write much recently, so I'll leave with a (not exact) quote I heard from, if I'm not wrong, a Nobel Prize nominee who recently came down to Singapore to talk.
"Educate a man and you educate an individual. Educate a woman and you educate a community."