Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Note to Self

Academic life changes you. The first year and a half have been social. I had classes, I met and spoke with people. But the last few months have been time spent mostly by myself. 'Work' is time spent writing, thinking and working out problems in your head. Apart from teaching, an important part of work is producing knowledge - doing research and publishing. It will be a lifetime of this, of spending the whole day by myself, having 'conversations' with people who are not actually with me either because I have never met them in person or because they are long dead.

As such, it is probably perfectly normal to be self-involved. Nearly every academic I have met is like this - with a few exceptions. One literally loses one's social skills. One forgets 'pakikipagkapwa.' One becomes overly embroiled with one's own thoughts. And because most social interactions involve students, then this is the default mode of conversation. Monologue takes the place of dialogue. Listening skills get really rusty. If evolutionary mutations could happen faster, I imagine academics will lose their ears altogether!

So, here is a mental note to myself. Keep engaging the world. And by 'world' I mean other people. I am constituted by them as much as I constitute them  through my writing.


Jon Limjap said...

Wait, what, no conferences? International conventions? Junkets to foreign universities? Talks and seminars listened to or conducted by you? Hmmm.... Or maybe my mother just chose an academic field more inherently social?

sparks said...

There are all those - but its to market yourself and your ideas. Build alliances. Keep an eye on new trends. Network. Still part of the job, not necessarily socializing events.