Earlier this semester, I noticed a senior student had signed up for an intro-level conversation course. I asked her what she was doing there, and she just kind of shrugged. When I told her that she and I both knew she didn’t need the course, she told me it was a requirement for graduation. Now, a sensible administration would provide a simple test for students to qualify for a waiver on this particular course… which by definition makes it impossible for us to have such a system, because our administration is useless and intractable.
So I told her, point blank, that the class would be a waste of time, and to talk to me after class. In the end, we agreed it would be a better use of her time to take on a practical area of study that is related to the field she wants to work in, and I could so a kind of “special studies course” with her. We cast about some ideas, and finally ended up with the idea of a translation project.
We just had our first really, honesty-to-goodness meeting to discuss her work so far — she’s working on a short story by 정이현 — and it was pretty interesting for me.