Thoughts on the upcoming fall university semester.

I’m preparing for another semester at university. This time I’ll be dining on a buffet of philosophy classes, three in total, in contrast to my summer meal of three psychology classes. Why am I eating these classes anyway?

It looks to be a lot of reading, but I’m up for it. I love reading! Bring on those six books, existential philosophy class.

In a surprise twist, I’m also taking a Japanese class this fall. Originally, I had planned on taking French for practical reasons (I do live in Canada, after all), but my heart wasn’t in it. I switched to something cooler, and much less useful – Latin. My hype level for Latin was high, until I realized the timing of the class would make my life as a parent infinitely more complicated. I sacrificed Latin, considered going back to French, but then saw the Japanese class. The timing was perfect. Why Japanese? I casually started learning it some years ago when I had a half-Japanese roommate and enjoyed the logic of it. The early stages of learning Japanese were far more enjoyable than the early stages of any other language I’ve dabbled in, including French and Dutch. Plus, I was a manga-obsessed teen and went through a phase of blasting J-Pop from my boombox on home-burned CDs. As an adult, I’ve enjoyed the Japanese series Terrace House, which coincidentally my roommate helped translate on Netflix. Wouldn’t it be cool to read manga in original Japanese? And watch Terrace House without subtitles? Now here we are.

At this stage I’m re-learning Hirigana (one of the alphabets) and re-orienting to some basic conversational things (hajimemashite! ohayoo!). My partner is playing along – he’s always game for language learning – and I know a few people I could attempt to speak with in the feature, former roommate included. So far, so fun.

I also have another psychology class on the docket, which, if it’s like any of the others, will require a lot of memorization. I’m good with that though. Bring on the multiple-choice exams. Personality psychology is not as interesting to me as social psychology (such a COOL field), because even the idea of personality seems sort of boring to me. Personality feels like a factor of the ego, and who really cares what my traits are? Much more interesting is how us humans, with our personalities, are blown by the winds of social influences like paper-thin leaves. But I don’t want to discount the field of personality psychology. I fully expect to be surprised.

There are some doubts about psychology being one of my majors. I wobble on it. I’m less doubtful about getting an honours degree in philosophy and carrying that forward to a master’s degree. What better field to hone my mind? I’m also prepared to fully change this direction after three philosophy classes – maybe it won’t be as cool as I imagine it to be. It is reasonable to consider I might pivot to, say, history instead. The one history class I took required an intense – even for me – amount of reading, but it was so in line with my interests. Namely, reading and researching. I love reading and researching! The reason psychology is coming ahead of history at this point does have a little to do with the sunk cost fallacy. I have, after all, taken five psychology classes, and only one history class. To make up for that gap, I would need to do what would be nearly another semester. Plus, psychology is fun. I love reading about the mind. So if philosophy is there to improve me, psychology can be there for sheer enjoyment. Not that psychology doesn’t improve me, and not that philosophy isn’t fun – both are true. But the primary reason does not need to be improvement.

Another reason I might be keen to continue psychology is that, so far, I have been rather good at it. I have landed marks in the 90s for all five classes. Contrast that to history or English, classes with a more significant written component, where I have marks in the eighties. Maybe it’s just an ego thing. I love those high marks! Something worth considering.

In this two-week gap between the end of summer classes and the beginning of the fall term, I find myself looking forward in eager anticipation. I am deeply enjoying the ride.

-A