I recently went to New York to present a paper in my very first academic conference!
My paper was about ethnic and civic nationalism in Hong Kong; it was part of my data analysis for my PhD project. My presentation took about 20 minutes and afterwards there were comments and an open Q&A session.
The conference was very well organised and the quality of the papers was excellent. It was enjoyable and fascinating; however… there were frustrations too.
In early May I was invited to attend and present a paper in an academic conference in New York, US. It was a great experience, but I learnt even more sight-seeing after the conference!
As you may know, one of the landmarks in New York is the Yankee Stadium. My sister and I were sight-seeing together and though we knew nothing about baseball we were driven by curiosity and so decided to watch a live game at the Yankee Stadium!
A recent study indicated that the majority of people in the UK still avoid talking about death and making plans for after they die. Similarly, the Confucius’ comment - “We do not yet understand life, how could we understand death?” - reveals that he treats death as an unknown and would rather not talk about it.
In my view, dying is one of the few certainties of life. If we do not understand death, we don’t know how to live. But we tend not to talk about it because we fear the unknowns ahead. What will happen when we are dying? Is there an after-life? Does death mean the end of everything? These unknowns make death even more mysterious and scary. To conquer fear, we first have to understand what death is all about.
When I first started my postgraduate study I was surprised by how the lecturers and local students interacted. Students were talking to the lecturers like friends or peers!
They would argue any point if they disagreed, or interrupt anytime they wished. Lecturers would not be offended but appeared to be relaxed and sometimes excited about subsequent discussions. This is the first time I felt that personal opinions actually matter, even when faced by the “experts”.
In 2014 I was living in a private accommodation with four other students. It was at this time that my room was broken in to and my laptops were taken. (If you want to know about my horrifying experience, click here.)
After this burglary, I did not feel safe staying in the same house so I was asking around to see whether I could move out as soon as possible.