Growing up in a developing country where the emphasis in education was on creating a future productive workforce, reading and writing skills were seen as ends to the means of having a literate population. Unfortunately, I don’t think I ever learnt how to really write or read for that matter. And the worst part of it is I went to Catholic school where there was a strong emphasis on reading English literature, particularly the classics. But I don’t think I really ever learnt how to write with thought. Sure, creative writing was probably a larger part of my life compared to most of my countrypersons, but I fear I lack the essential skills to write in a critical manner.
Although I headed North to continue my education, my choice of University, despite its claims of having the no. 2, if not no. 1 program in writing seminars did nothing to improve my critical writing skills. With the threat of failing out of school, and hence disappointing my parents, I stuck to what I knew I was semi-good at: Science despite an inclination to try something new. Not that I regret it. I had a great college experience: fell in love, fell out of love, did research, organized stuff, had great and horrid roommates. I grew up in college. I semi-figured out what I wanted to do with my life. I also discovered that you don’t need to know absolutely how you want to live your life. It is ok to only have a half-baked plan. You never know what life will throw at you and you are probably better off having the flexibility to allow your life-plans to change.
I took as many creative writing classes as I could (hence, once again, sticking to what I know best), took only two english classes. Those were probably the hardest classes I had ever taken. I really regret not having had the guts to keep challanging myself. Being a chicken is kicking my arse right now. As a scientist who can’t write, I struggle everyday to defend my ideas and my work. And I’m still learning how to go about doing research. sigh.