Frankly speaking, it hasn't been a very pleasant week.
How could that be? It's only the first week of the semester! The first week should be full of novelty, of excitement, of experiencing new classes and new places...
Except that it wasn't.
Not that there was nothing new. The new classes were there. The new teachers, new classrooms, new subjects. Familiar friends and classmates were there. There shouldn't be much to make me uncomfortable. However, as I said, it wasn't a very pleasant week for me.
Perhaps the problem is not with the classes and places. After all, there is a subject in feeling novelty, excitement, and happiness -- me. Maybe it's just me that's not right.
It seems, though, that everybody had changed during winter vacation. Lots of people have decided they are going to sacrifice (pretty much) everything else to make time for schoolwork. My problem is, I haven't made that decision yet. There are things I still wish to do, leisure books I will wish to read. I'm just not yet ready to spend all of my time studying.
Let's start with the common notes. I don't doubt that it helps us studying, but is it really necessary? Nobody stopped to ask, can't we live without it? I highly suspect that everybody will just do fine without it. After all, we all did okay last semester! We were merely following tradition, a tradition whose necessity was never quite questioned.
Likewise, many people followed tradition when they decided they were going to start working hard this semester. A decision not made because they wanted to, but because everybody else does. As a result, almost everybody spends major amounts of time working on their grades, and those who do not get poor grades. When the class average is something like 92, getting 82 is just unacceptable, and it will show its influence when applying for residency.
In between classes, I hear people chatting about studying, reports, and midterms. For god's sake, it's only the first week! Can't you just ease off a little? Putting yourself under so much tension only creates tension for others, and finally everybody is under a lot of stress. Next thing you know, a tradition is formed, and everybody becomes stressed even before starting the semester.
I guess I'll just have to deal with it. Not exactly a pleasant way of life, but there's not much of a chance I can do anything about it. The only factor I'm able of changing is myself.
Perhaps it is time to rethink the taoist philosophies. By letting things be, I can live a more happy man, but it's just impossible to live in the confucious world. During the past of my life, I was able to manage work in a more or less relaxed state, and beat most of the confucians. However, now that I'm with 130 of the most top students in Taiwan, things are not as easy as they used to be. I'll just have to keep up, I guess. Goodbye, taoism.