Observing a Thesis Presentation
Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
70Trip End Ongoing
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Sorry for not writing- I would, but there's pretty much nothing to talk about. Class all day, homework all night, gym and errands in between. This schedule isn't leaving me much energy to stray very far on weekends, so adventuring has been minimal.
But, this Saturday morning I did get to learn a little more about the Chinese grad student process. I was told that the second-year students in my major were due to present their extended abstracts on theses to a panel of all the other second-years in the major and several teachers. So, I and 2 other int'l grad students (one in my major, one not) left bright and early (7:30!!) to check it out.
We got there early and watched as people trickled in
Finally at 8:40 the show started. There were 7 second-years and 3 teachers at the panel, and about 8 or 9 of us observers. There weren't enough seats, so several of us ended up sharing office chairs (ouch). First, one of the teachers talked about how to proceed. Students would be called on in alphabetical order to present, and each student should limit his/her speaking time to 8 minutes, during which that student shouldn't read word for word but rather go through the important points and arguments. After that, the teachers would have no more than 20 minutes total to make criticisms, comments, etc.
So, the first girl started. She spoke VERY fast, presumably in order to not surpass the time limit. Each presentation essentially proceeded like so: topic intro, why this topic, relevant/main resources (lots of time spent on this), background info, main points, conclusion, and mention of where further research is still needed.
Then each of the teachers would chime in one by one, mostly with very harsh criticisms, some with clarifying questions, and rarely with praise. One cultural observation- at the end of every single student presentation, the teachers would fight over who should speak first, each trying to urge an elder, more learned teacher to go first out of courtesy
The whole show lasted 4 hours- perhaps the longest four hours I can recall. My advisor, who was one of the 4 teachers on the panel, gave me (and his other advisees) some student theses to look at for reference... Ohh Gosh.. Quite intimidating, many pages. Afterwards, all the second-years and teachers went out to lunch together, coincidentally at my hotel/dorm. The second floor is a restaurant. As such, we 3 int'l students went the opposite direction to find food.
What else? On a totally unrelated note, went out to dinner this weekend with a bunch of new friends to a Himalayan-Nepalese restaurant in an area I've never been before. We had our own little room, and had to remove shoes to sit. Luckily we had an Indian friend with us and she did most of the food ordering- it was all very delicious. Curry, naan, and lots of beer (to help with the spiciness, of course). We spent a long time there and they ended up having to kick us out at closing. The tab was really outrageously expensive too, but a lot of people eat a lot of food. A group of us proceeded to a nearby bar that was full of rugby and cricket fans there to watch the games. Overall a nice night out.
Unfortunately, no foreseeable adventures in the coming weeks, but perhaps I will unintentionally come across a blog-worthy occurrence, as I tend to do. Pictures may include some random ones.