Saturday, July 5, 2008

Week Four (Karen)

Escaramuza, a Mexican equestrian team, performing at Tucson's San Juan Fiesta. 
I suppose my Week Four blog comes late not because I don’t have time to write but because I don’t know where to start. Tennessee had mentioned atop Mt. Lemmon the idea that “researchers who go to Cuba for one week write a book. Those who go for two weeks write an article, and those who go for longer don’t write anything,” and I am starting to feel that restraint.

I feel a sort of complacency; in a sense, I am stuck in a rut. But perhaps it’s because I like to be constantly on the move—wake up early, sleep late—so now having a consistent schedule feels a bit restrictive. I know that one day I will have to face the facts and work a 9 to 5 job, but for the time being, for as long as I can, I hope to escape the mundane “real world” lifestyle.

As I had mentioned to Charlie at the beginning of our DukeEngage program, I want to learn more about myself from this experience, and more importantly, I want to know if policy work is what I want to do with the rest of my life. Someone once mentioned to me not to major in public policy, which I will be, because writing memos is like writing wish lists. You have to wait, and the waiting time for change is not worth a whole career. While I do believe that someone has to enact change for change to happen, it makes me wonder what path I should take. What cause is worth my whole-hearted dedication? What job or role should I take? It seems like I should know. I will be declaring my major next semester after all.

I’ve learned a lot these four and now five weeks. It’s just that I don’t know how all these things, from things I’ve touched to the people I’ve talked to, will affect my life, how things will piece together. Will something long-term come out of it?

And I only started considering politics/law/policy at the beginning of my junior year in high school. Anything before that was a mixture of wanting to be an interior designer, fashion designer, architect, artist, marketer, advertiser, film director, band manager/roadie, world traveler, and hotel critic so that I could be part-time world traveler. Nothing ever really “realistic.” I remember when I was seven, I told a friend that I wanted to be an artist. She responded, “Artists don’t make any money.” After that comment, I never thought about being just an artist.

Something similar happened after coming back from our No More Deaths trip this past weekend. My family was frustrated by what we were doing in the desert. It was weird to have to defend myself, but it was not unwarranted. I have to admit that I wasn’t too sure myself of where I stood coming into Tucson, and I am still trying to build my case so to speak. I did like how Rachel, a North Carolina State graduate student who is working with No More Deaths this summer, framed the U.S. immigration issue with the veil of ignorance, a very PubPol 116, a Duke public policy course on ethics, reference, during our reflection Saturday night. But regardless confrontation coming from a person so close was difficult. I felt like I did when my friend told me that being an artist was not a viable option.

So perhaps the point of this blog is to sort things out in my head. It seems a bit selfish to talk about my dreams, hopes, future, etc. But this is what I have been thinking about.

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