Flash Forward to Present Day...

Jan 26, 2009.

What it Means to be a Failed Koreanist.

Without giving too much of the past 20 years away too soon, I can say that at one point I had every intention of pursuing a career as a Korean Scholar of some sort. I earned a 3.9/4.0 GPA, and was well-respected in the department when I finished my Korean degree. I toyed with proceeding straight to grad school to study more Korean. I also interviewed for a couple of jobs where I could use my Korean and break from the cash-poor student lifestyle. I just couldn't pull the trigger on either one.

I then made a terrible decision and turned down a month-long, all-expense-paid study trip to Korea that I had applied for and been selected to. I snowballed that blunder by agreeing to work for US $150/day in the Art Department on a TV commercial for a local grocery store. That commercial was followed by another, it was followed by a TV mini-series, next came a movie of the week, then a 13-episode series...

The next three years and two summers of working in the film industry are a subject for another time. The net effect result was, however, that I lost any and all momentum and contacts necessary to pursue Korean studies or a career thereto related.

Many years later I found out that I fell into a category called "failed Koreanists." All it means is that I was educated and trained in Korean or Korean Studies and I ended up not putting it to any practical use. Not even remotely. However, on top of the obvious, and other oft-discussed aspects of us such failures, here are a couple more to think about.

Being a failed Koreanist means that at any given time, mixed in with the other trinkets, trash, and light reading on my bed table, you'll find several Korea-related books I have either started and paused, or intend to read:
(I'm presently nine pages into that fat novel by Min Jin Lee.)
It also means that in a room in my house where nobody but me is allowed, I've got this:
And this:
This:

Oh, and this:

I've read the vast majority. And yep, there's more on other shelves and in boxes...

6 comments:

Roboseyo said...

Hi there. Your blog was nominated for an award for the best Korea blogs of 2008, at The Hub Of Sparkle. Go check it out if you like.

http://www.koreasparkle.com/2009/01/the-golden-klog-awards-survey-is-up-go-vote/#content

Roboseyo said...

Hi there. Your blog was nominated for an award for the best Korea blogs of 2008, at The Hub Of Sparkle. Go check it out if you like.

http://www.koreasparkle.com/2009/01/the-golden-klog-awards-survey-is-up-go-vote/#content

Amanda said...

I'd be interested to know what you think of FREE FOOD. I wasn't too impressed.

(BTW, while my Korean shelves are starting to get large, my Swedish shelves are 5 times worse. I guess I'm a failed Swedishist.)

White Rice said...

Robo-Thanks Doucheburns. I'll be sure to stuff the ballot box.

Amanda-I am now 24 pages in. Slow going at this point. I don't usually bite off books as lengthy as this one. But will elt you know if and when I finish.
Thanks for stopping by.

Matt Strum said...

You have quite the nice book collection! So far I've just read mostly language books, I'm hoping to explore a little into more of the type of books you have on history and such things. Anyways, I hope that you are able to find some way to use what you have! I am in university right now and am contemplating what to do in the future (I am in computer engineering but I do love Korea also). I'll finally go over to Korea for the first time next year, so I'll see how it is. Anyways, I enjoyed reading your post!

White Rice said...

Thanks Matt. I hope you also enjoy part 2 in this series (coming soon).