Friday, May 8, 2015

Thoughts While Studying

By this time next week I will have completed my last final examination going towards my graduate degree and likely my last bit of school-related work ever. The end of the school year cannot come soon enough! I've had a few ideas for posts (primarily something about the Met exhibit's theme, which is, by its own definition, about Orientalism), but I have lacked the will to actually write. For now,  here are a few things that have been on my mind as I've prepared for my last set of exams. 

There was a deeply sad story published today by ESPN, it is mainly about a college student's suicide and it was, indirectly, also about Instagram and how it might implicitly encourage people to present a heavily edited version of their lives and what that depiction might obscure. It is hard for me to fully understand how social media has changed since I started college (almost a decade ago, which is itself a scary thought). Despite a considerable amount of time spent blogging, mostly at other sites  over the years, I generally feel a bit behind the curve when it comes to new social media platforms. I have fun browsing Instagram, but I find that I hate being in front of the camera. I'm also not particularly dedicated to uploading other photos either, perhaps partially because I generally don't get a lot of likes even from real-life friends that use social media. 

I do remember, however, some of my own "fear of missing out"-like social anxieties from college. Back then, an average person who liked to take photos (with a digital camera, not a smartphone) might upload photos twice a month or so at most. They'd be less edited, I think, and would generally be more realistic about all the awkwardness associated with going to college parties. I would get anxious when friends posted pictures from social events I had not been invited too. Long story short, college was a deeply awkward time for me, and I feel that most of my friends agree with that assessment. If I had gone to college in the age of Instagram, it probably wouldn't have been a good influence on me. 

Because tigers are not native to Japan, depictions of tigers in traditional Japanese art were modeled on housecats and imported tiger skins.

On a lighter note, the Japan Society's current exhibit on depictions of cats in Japanese art is fun, but small. One of the great tragedies of my life is that both K and I have moderately severe cat allergies, which means that cat ownership is not in our future. (This probably distresses me considerably more than it does him.) 

Also, it is Mother's Day this weekend! Sadly, I've been away from home every Mother's Day since I started college. I always send a card, though my gift-purchasing has been a bit more uneven. I feel completely sheepish, and I should be, though my mom is the first to insist that I not worry too much about it.


  1. I read that ESPN article today too. Really sad stuff, but I love that her family is using this press to shed some light on depression. It's okay to feel not okay, and I think these days, there's a great pressure to seem like you have your shit together.

    Congrats on your upcoming graduation! I'm excited for you. What are you getting your degree in?

  2. Congrats on your graduation! I wish I could see that MET exhibit in person, I LOVE LOVE oriental fashion, and there's a lot of Tom Ford era YSL finale in that exhibit too.

    I haven't seen that article, but I think all this instant social media w/ everything having a camera is really really really horrible, esp. for teenagers. We had internet and cell phones in my day growing up...but it was never at this level. I'm old enough to remember the transition from beepers to black and white cells. I don't think the problems have changed but technology has made it worse. People use their smart phones to do really dumb things.

  3. Alison @ Peacoat DiariesMay 10, 2015 at 12:57 PM

    Sometimes i feel like an old lady screaming "things were better back in my day...", but I often find myself feeling so grateful that there really was no social media to speak of when I was in college. I didn't have the best experience in college and I was aware that most of my friends from HS were having a MUCH better time, and it would have been miserable to be reminded of that in real time. Plus the lack of filter at that age...I really cringe at the thought of what I might have written!

    Congrats on finishing your studies!

  4. Thanks! I'm getting a law degree - it is definitely very exciting to be done. Just a few days now until I formally graduate.

  5. I definitely remember my own slightly cringe-y use of social media back in high school days. Facebook was already fairly popular when I was in college, but I feel like people share more on Facebook now than they used to (even if other platforms like Instagram or Snapchat are kind of displacing Facebook). Even back then I definitely felt the urge to compare myself to others based off of what I could see on their Facebook pages.

    Thanks! I'm very glad to be done.

  6. I'll try to see the exhibit, though I won't be in the city this summer, so I might not get a chance!

    I've found it interesting to see how social media use develops over time. (I'm also from a generation that remembers beepers and black and white cell phones.) I agree that the problems don't really change. There was some low-level social media drama even back in high school (long before smartphones, and a while before Facebook was open to non-college students) based off of what people (including myself, for which I am embarassed) wrote on Xanga or Livejournal. I think I've always had some sense that oversharing on social media was a bad idea, though actually learning to be careful with my internet presence took some time. Thankfully there was a lot less potential for embarrassment (fewer photographs, mainly) back then.


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