My qualifying exams take place on Monday, and if I (fingers crossed) pass them, I will have overcome the biggest barrier keeping me from blogging regularly here: not the actual work of studying (this exam is five years of study and work and research in the making), but the psychological hurdle of not feeling like I have any right to spend time blogging when I ought to be studying or writing.  But preparing for these orals has helped me to see what I often fail to see otherwise: it’s my community that makes me who I am, that teaches me what I know, and therefore my community has schooled me in preparation for this moment.  Each day for the last two weeks (nearly), I have written to friends and supporters who are praying for me and cheering me on, trying to articulate to them what I’m studying, what it means, why it’s relevant.  Thinking about who I’m writing to, what they care about, what might communicate to them, has been my breakthrough.  It reminds me that writing here represents an ongoing attempt to engage with and be verbal in that community, and therefore worth my time and work.

One thought on “Quals

  1. {applause, applause!}
    hi paulflai, I appreciate many different types of posts you write, but this one expresses what is often my struggle, as a quasi grad student who is learning to write. I am a scholar, but a yet unproductive one; communicating with and connecting with my academic community is my most inspiring motivation, and explaining the details to my non-linguist friends is always encouraging, if I think they can bear it.
    Congratulations on taking & passing your qualifying exams, and thanks for taking the plunge of blogging here more often. I almost got to see you in December! Sorry that didn’t work out (as the next opportunity will not likely come for a while.)

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