Going back to school

The dome at the British Museum

I have hinted, both on this blog and on Twitter, that something was afoot. Not just the new book project (which is shaping up nicely, by the way), but something else. I didn't say more earlier because I have a dread fear of jinxing my chances before firm offers and plans are made --- but now they have been made, so:

I am going back to school, for one year, at Goldsmiths College in London, to do a Masters in Cultural Studies. This does not have anything to do with jewellery-making, as some punny friends have jibed, but everything to do with reading Roland Barthes, Pierre Bourdieu, Stuart Hall and other sexy cultural thinkers.

I will also be living and hanging out in London, obviously. Woot!

Some funding has been secured, for which I am very grateful (and will say more when the paperwork is done), and hopefully I'll be able to rustle up a little more in the next few months. The exchange rate on the pound is low now, as everyone keeps reminding me, but even so, London is an expensive place to live.

I got the acceptance email from Goldsmiths just this week. I got the scholarship funding letter while I was in Taiwan. Before that I was feverishly drafting essays, filling in forms, digging up old academic certificates and transcripts (my GCE 'O' and 'A' Level certificates are looking pretty weatherbeaten), and meticulously putting together application packages in time for various deadlines.

What did I learn from this process?
  • I couldn't have done it alone --- thank you, my gracious friends and associates, who offered advice, introductions and support.
  • Writing application essays to justify my existing career as well as future plans, can feel like simultaneously having a mid-life crisis and establishing new career goals that I actually care about.
  • I should always keep my certificates and records in one place, as my mother always said.
The last time I went through this type of application process, I was 19 years old and a rather different person. (Also, I was dealing with US university application forms, which are a lot more detailed than the UK versions.) Some friends have expressed surprise that university admission and scholarship offers now come through email, one several-kilobyte missive at a time. As one friend said, "Last time, we had to wait for a bit fat package to show up in the mail."

It is a somewhat different sort of anticipation and glee --- but I am still gleeful.

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At 5/02/2010 2:04 am , Blogger amaranth said...

So totally envious, more so because it's london :)
Well I hope you achieve all you set out to do and more...

At 5/02/2010 2:34 am , Anonymous Howard said...


At 5/02/2010 2:52 am , Blogger Davester said...

Congrats! Yeah digging up those O and A certs is so tedious. At least can get reprints from MOE.

At 5/02/2010 9:38 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...



At 5/02/2010 2:37 pm , Blogger ATigerInTheKitchen said...

CONGRATS!!!! SO happy for you. It's going to be a grand adventure, I'm sure. Cheers...

At 5/03/2010 12:24 am , Blogger Tym said...

Thanks, everyone! I'm really psyched.

At 5/03/2010 3:40 pm , Blogger skinnylatte said...


London is lovely. I think Z is also starting her masters at Goldsmiths at the same time (some design thing). Will come to visit the both of you.

At 5/15/2010 5:06 pm , Blogger jx said...

london's beautiful. hopefully the weather will be kind to you in the coming academic year because it has not been too kind to me this year ha

- long time reader (now studying in london)

At 5/16/2010 7:53 pm , Blogger Unknown said...

Great news Yu-Mei. Going away for a sabbatical is always a good way to refresh oneself and rejuvenate those jaded senses. Well, at least it did wonders for me. London is a wonderful place to soak in the culture and Goldsmiths is certainly the place to do so. Congrats!

At 5/20/2010 2:31 am , Blogger Joan said...

I'm so happy for you. :) This is going to be such an adventure. When are you headed off?

At 5/23/2010 11:48 pm , Blogger Tym said...

Thanks again! Term starts in late September. I'm hoping to find a place to live in or close to Central London, so if anyone has any lobang, let me know.


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