Blogger: Daisy Zhang
It’s Daisy again!
I went back to China and met most of my high school friends during the winter break. Most of them are studying in Britain or Scotland, and as I talked about my college life, they kept asking me questions like "Hmmm, so, what's your major? "- college life in the UK is so different from my life at Oxy. They declared their majors when applying to colleges, and could only take major-related classes during their three years of studies - no wonder they were surprised about me talking about the new American Literature and European Philosophy knowledge I learned last semester as a Physics major. Also, the first year of college in Britain does not affect their final transcript, and they are only getting tested for what they learned at the start of each semester. While I studied 12+ hours per day in the library/physics common room last semester, my friends in the UK were traveling around the European continent. While I was enjoying my winter break with my family (and food), they were studying (and eating food).
I slept in the LAX airport for one day before coming back to Oxy. Booking the ticket back, I forgot to count the time difference between Beijing and Los Angeles, and the dorm didn't open until the day after I arrived. However, luckily (or, unluckily?), I was not the only one who forgot the time difference among all the international students from China. And I figured, although it is not something I would like to do again, spending a night in the airport is not that bad if there is a friend around.
With such an unordinary start, the first month of this semester went very well. I am taking Physics 110 (Mechanics), Math 214 (Linear Algebra), Econ 101, CSP59 (China in a Globalized World), Tai-chi and auditing Chinese 250 (Classical Chinese) this semester. For every class, I have friends to work with - I can finally study in the library 16 hours in a row and still feel energetic on the way back to my dorm.
By far, Linear Algebra and Classical Chinese are my favorite classes, but I bet not many people would like to hear about what I learned in a math class.... hmm, so, as a Chinese native speaker, I would love to introduce/recommend the Classical Chinese class to you.
In my classical Chinese class, there are only eight students and one professor. I took this class only to refresh my classical Chinese knowledge while learning the traditional Chinese characters (I have only used the simplified) . However, it turns out that I have learned way more than I expected during these weeks. Although I was asked to remember a lot of articles written in Classical Chinese and their translations in primary/middle/high school in Beijing, I have never learned why it was translated in that way. I developed an intuition toward the classical Chinese text by remembering these, but didn’t have a clue about a systematical way of interpreting more complex sentences that my intuition couldn't decipher. Professor Miller explained the most-used characters (we have gotten to 也、者、之 so far) and put it into context by asking us to try to translate by ourselves and then provide the answer. This helped me learn the language in a more effective way. Also, for every quiz, we were asked to write a few sentences in classical Chinese! After learning Classical Chinese for 11 years, I didn't know that I could write classical Chinese myself already! It is such a fulfilling experience, and I am so glad I decided to take this class.
It was the Chinese New Year 春节 last week, and our Chinese international students were dressed in the traditional red color to celebrate in the Haines Hall's common room.
Yesterday, I volunteered for the Science Olympiad at Oxy, and for the winter break, I will be participating in the alternative spring break (theme: Immigration in LA) program. Wait for my posts coming up soon!
Last year this time, I was worrying about my college applications, and now I am studying at my dream college 6,000 miles away from home, and writing blogs about my experience! Isn’t that quite magical?