Chocolate & Spice

chocolate, spice and the other pleasures in life

Thursday, October 19, 2006

All Good Things Come to an End


School paraphernalia (thanks to Mints for the lovely
"back to school" pencilcase so that I could go back in style!)

I'm a little sad writing this entry as school came to an (unofficial) end for me yesterday. I will have to miss the concluding lecture next week owing to work commitments which will see me back in Singapore for a week.

I've spent the past 3 months happily hitting the books for the literature course I enrolled in at the University of Melbourne as one of the "goals" to accomplish during my sabbatical. Lots of folks asked me why do a literature course and not something more practical – my simple answer was and still is that I've always enjoyed literature and I wanted to do something that would challenge my brain a little. I gave up doing an arts degree to study law so this is my opportunity to get back to my first love and without the pressure of studying for an exam, to enjoy studying for studying's sake.

Quite a few of us would at some point in our life wonder about the road not taken – whether academic, professional or personal. For me, I've always wondered whether I made the right choice to enter law school and continue into practice instead of following my initial plans of completing an arts degree and heading into journalism. I was fortunate enough to be able to dabble in radio broadcasting and writing for publications during law school and had contented myself during the first few years of legal practice that "I had been there and done that" and it was time to get on with a 'real' career. Increasingly though, I have been asking myself over the past couple of years whether I was content to stay in practice or to leave and do something entirely different. I guess studying something out of my present comfort zone goes partly to exploring these thoughts of mine.

Choosing a course way back in June was hard work - there were so many choices! The literature course I ended up going with in the end was "The Victorian Supernatural". For the longest time, A thought I was studying Gothic Literature (one of my options) and went around telling everyone so such that all his colleagues would ask me to tell them all about Dracula and Frankenstein! In a nutshell, my course focused on various texts during the Victorian era which evoked "supernatural" (i.e. beyond nature) elements and covered well-known texts such as Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights (a text I shuddered at) to Henry James' The Turn of the Screw (I enjoyed this thoroughly).

I've had fun reading all the texts and its accompanying readings every week, preparing for class and being a student again – it made for a nice change from worrying about work deadlines, getting screamed at by clients and lying awake at night worrying about the foregoing. It was great having a sense of purpose and direction these last few months and that I've achieved something concrete during my sabbatical as part of my initial worry about taking a sabbatical was that I would spend my days in front of the telly eating potato chips and getting fat! Alright, I do watch a fair bit of daytime telly from Queer Eye for a Straight Guy (I love this programme - it's fabulous!!) to Ready Steady Cook (excellent stuff on Channel 10) but not as much as I had feared initially. Finally and most importantly, finishing this course has gone some way to satisfying my inner child screaming for more intellectual literary stimulation and quietened that part of me that kept asking "What if….?".

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