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Friday, October 12, 2012


I haven't been a very good blogger since I've been in Boston. I've been keeping a journal, but I haven't put any of it online. I think it's because it's not what anyone who reads this blog or knows me wants to hear. You see, everyone wants me to love being here in Boston and love my program and be having the time of my life. But I'm not.

Clarification: I do love Boston, and I love being here. I love the people I've met and my ward and my roommates. Boston is an awesome city, and I love the opportunities it presents. I've learned so much about myself and my faith in my time here. I feel like I did, in fact, need to come here.

However.... I don't love my program. I thought I would, or rather hoped I would.

You see, in my undergrad I took a few critical studies classes, but they were always mixed with production or screenwriting classes so I never got the full blast of strictly theory all day, every day. I am getting that blast now, and I'm afraid to say I don't enjoy it. Parts of it I like - I like looking deeper into films. I've always enjoyed that. I even like writing papers sometimes.  I never got to take a class on TV theory in my undergrad, and now I get to and I find it fascinating.

I don't enjoy the teaching style here (it may be the same at all film studies Masters programs, I don't know). In my undergrad, my professors would give us a framework to study - tools to use when analyzing films. Things to look for. Jumping off points. Here, it feels so open-ended and without direction that I don't know where to go. Also, I have never had much to say in any of my classes. I learn by listening and observing, and I am not a quick thinker. My papers are good because I have time to consider concepts and ideas and then put them down in my own way. In class, I am expected to contribute meaningfully, and no matter how much I prepare it seems as though I have nothing intelligent to say. If I do, someone says it before I get the chance. Then I try to make up for it and I say some gobbledegook that has no relevance. My professors just look at me, trying to understand what I am saying, their brows furrowed. They usually just nod after I speak and move on to a different topic.

I have felt like such an idiot in the past month. I know I'm not an idiot generally, but compared to some of these people here, I am an idiot. The other day, another critical studies student came up to me and told me how his mind was blown by some theory that our professor mentioned in Superheroes class and that's all he could think of while we watched The Dark Knight. I had no idea what he was talking about! I didn't even remember hearing our professor mention that theory, and I had no idea what the theory even was! I still can't remember what it was even called. The same student told me what movies were showing at some theaters nearby (we're supposed to get out and watch films at certain venues each month). He mentioned the directors like I should know who they were, and perhaps I should, but I didn't. I, once again, felt ignorant. TV theory is filled with kids who spend, I kid you not, ALL of their time watching TV. They must, with all the shows they keep up with and have kept up with in the past. I know nothing compared to them.

That's when I realized that I don't love film like these people do. They crave tearing it apart with different theories and watching obscure films and I, frankly, just like watching movies. I like knowing the history - the cultural context, how they came to be, etc. But in the end, they're just movies. They're meant to entertain, to inform, to educate, to create meaning, perhaps even to change lives (my life has been changed by certain movies) - but not to be over-thought and torn apart and chewed up until nothing is left but a mass of gooey celluloid that no longer means anything to anyone. I feel like all the joy is sucked out of movies in these classes. I don't find joy the same way these people do.

I don't know, maybe I'm just exhausted by more theory than I've even had to handle before. I guess I was just hoping for other movie goers like me to be here. It may be that there aren't any other movie goers like me anywhere.

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