Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lectures at University of Guam

I just returned for two days in Guam. I had been invited to lecture at University of Guam by Professor Kirk Johnson. His Introduction to Sociology classes have been reading my book. I spent Monday afternoon at the UOG library preparing my thoughts, and as I sat there, surrounded by students and books, I thought it could be exciting to work in academia -- people seeking knowledge, exchanging ideas, working to change the world, mentoring one another. That stuff excites me. But on Tuesday morning reality sank it. I enjoyed my first lecture to about 50 students. The students were engaged, asked questions, wrote down their thoughts, laughed at my jokes. At the end of the hour and a half, I signed their copies of the book. Then, after a 10 minute break, another 50 students came in, and I had to give the same lecture all over again. I was exhausted by the end. I didn't anticipate that the "exchange of ideas" would require back to back identical lectures on any given day of the week.

The evening made up for it though. Kirk had read some of my essays from the book to his upper level class on Community Development and Globalization. These fifteen students gathered at the home of Dianne Strong, a retired UOG English professor, and they were joined by members of the faculty in the fields of anthropology, archeology, psychology, and library science. We sat outside, overlooking the Pacific, and since no one had read the book, I talked a bit about what motivated me to write it, and I read some of the essays. I was truly humbled by the response. People laughed at the humorous pieces, and cried (even bawled) at the more personal ones. It still amazes me that anything that I write is of meaning to someone else, and to see this response from the students and especially the faculty was very moving.

4 comments:

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

I gave back to back lectures at MHS on Monday. I know the feeling.

Your piece about Arman would make the toughest of tough guys cry.

Marianas Eye said...

That would be the one.

Jeff said...

I do it three and sometimes four times a day back to back.

Marianas Eye said...

Does it ever become enjoyable? I'll do four cataract surgeries back to back and I love it. But I can't see ever enjoying giving the same lecture four times in a row.