16 April 2008

To go or not to go, that is the question.

When I started this blog not quite a year ago, it was with the hope that I could bring a new perspective to friends, family, and even passers-by from the information superhighway that is the internet. Now I'm wondering if you could help me out a bit, because I'm stumped.

I have an opportunity, through my school, to go to Beijing, China for a month, from the first week in June to the first week in July. For the better part of this year, I have been enthusiastic about going, but upon closer inspection, I am now not so sure that it is the best idea for me. Below I am listing some pros and cons of the trip....have a look at my list, and then, using the poll on the right, please vote. (Yes, that's right, I'm asking you to vote on my life. I like to ask other people's opinions, OK?)

Pros of going to Beijing for a month:
  • Trip is organized; I would be going with a group
  • I have a set place to stay for the whole month
  • There will be field trips in and around Beijing, which include the Great Wall
  • We will be taking a 4-credit hour course, which means a lighter load for my final year in grad school
  • The coursework is interesting and we'd be interacting with students from Columbia and a Chinese university
  • The 2 other classmates going really want me to go
  • I've never been to Asia, and this is a great way to start
Cons of going to Beijing for a month:
  • This trip isn't sponsored, i.e., the majority of the financial burden (including plane ticket, room and board, food, and half tuition for the course) would be placed upon me, and I am already in debt
  • Would not provide the opportunity to visit Shanghai, Hong Kong, or other places, and traveling to these other places is more appealing to me than staying in Beijing
  • If I didn't go, I would have the extra month to earn money and begin work on my thesis early
  • I don't need the credits....I was already planning on taking the extra 4 credits in another course next year anyway
  • The majority of the planning for the trip is my responsibility, and I don't have the time or the interest in planning for it
  • Beijing isn't going anywhere; I could plan a trip with friends for another time and see the things I really want to see without spending money on a course
  • I am exhausted and need a break from school
  • My cat might forget who I am....

Poll closes at 3 pm on Friday.


Donna said...

I worry about how tired you are, dear, and so think staying home and taking a quieter month (and also have a chance to make some money) is ultimately a better idea.

Downtown said...

It sounds like an expensive college course to me.

Stay home, save your money for when you can go where you want to (esp. if this trip doesn't allow you to go to the places you really want to go, yet you're going to be the one putting up the money). It's an awful lot of money to not be 110% sure. Four credits isn't worth it.

+i said...

your cat is too adorable. think of the kitty... awww...
the experience would be amazing- but the fact you would be making this extremely expensive trip without the chance to see Shanghai + Hong Kong is just a shame! don't ever go all the way to China and not see those places!

Laura said...

I am worried about you too. You've been running non-stop since you arrived in LA and I think you could really benefit from a break. Take a moment for yourself to stop and smell the roses. It'll make everything in the long run much more enjoyable.

Nam Henderson said...

Is this how i vote??

I saw take the summer off and relax... That is unless you really want to go traveling, and make new friends.

betadinesutures said...

listen chica, go to China and screw the cat - well, get it shelter - the world is quickly coming to an end, and the future is never certain. China, for all the negatives right now, is probably the single most interesting place on the planet right now. go to Tianamen [sp] Square and place a flower there for me, and say a quiet prayer.

myriam said...

honestly, to me I need to know : will the extra burden of debt push you over some kind of limit? for example, I've found in my own life that I have a sort of threshold of debt responsibility that I can reasonably pay off by the reasonable date that I would like to buy a house/have kids/etc. (Actually I'm over that limit which is why I think about these things...) Anyhow, if the extra debt load from this trip is somewhat minimal, that's one thing; if the extra debt load will break your financial plan for the next 10 years, that's another.

I recommend speaking to a financial planner for free at your bank before committing to it. To me that would be the largest question that needs resolving.

myriam said...

I'd like to be devil's advocate for a moment too and question this comment of yours -- that Beijing isn't really where you want to go in China anyway.

Without going to a place, you never really know what it has to offer; I have gone to places I thought wouldn't be that great before and discovered things there that really changed my perspective; conversely I've gone to place I thought I would love (ahem, Roma, here's looking at you, kid) and was completely disinterested and not challenged by them in any way. So I really question whether you can assess this without actually having been there--that's the beauty of travel, you don't know until you go! Also, Beijing truly seems like the PLACE to be right now--so many weird and challenging things are going on there, I can imagine it would be an incredibly rich study environment.

I just want to say, to me I would base my decision most on a) money and b) exhaustion level. If you truly need a break you won't get anything out of any trip. On the other hand, a new perspective / locale can be an invigorating opportunity, and the coursework sounds light anyway.

emKem said...

abulia \uh-BOO-lee-uh; uh-BYOO-\, noun:

Loss or impairment of the ability to act or to make decisions.

My Dictionary.com Word of the Day. Apparently I have been experiencing one of these lately.....

In all seriousness though, it's not that I don't want to go to Beijing....it's that this trip doesn't provide me with the infrastructure to go anywhere else besides Beijing (and environs...). They started planning it so late that they've only gotten two other people interested in going, and neither one of them are willing to travel after the trip is over. To me it's a heartbreaker to pay all of that money for a plane ticket to China but not have the opportunity to go anywhere else because I don't have a travel buddy to go with me. So I'm already planning a trip for next summer with another (couple) of friends, where we can hit all of our desired spots, not just Beijing.

liz said...

it's that photo of lardass touching herself that really did it for me... don't go

mad architect said...

uhmm no other choices? Bah...the first one but fly via Montserrat

5chw4r7z said...

I've talked forever about going places and never made it.
Don't talk do.
Sell the cat the car, whatever. Listen 10 years from now you'll be kicking yourself for not going.
Money comes, money goes.
Tired? whats that old saying? you'll have time to be tired when you're dead?
Go, be tired, hate it or love it, laugh, cry, curse me for talking you into it. You'll have a million stories one way or the other.
Thats my opinion, but then I don't know you either.
But if I did I'd say go.

Monica said...

I think if the extra debt will put you into a situation that would make it hard for you to pay back - then don't do it. Then you could go with friends or whoever, at another time, when you're not in need of some relaxation time. And if you don't really need to credits anyway, it doesn't seem worth spending all of that money - especially if you can't visit all of the other places you'd like to see as well.
And that picture of your cat still cracks me up every time I look at it :) Good luck with your decision!

liz said...

well? are you going or not?

demanding blog reader

emKem said...

Thanks to everyone for their comments and input. I'm NOT going to China this summer. It just wasn't time.

I am planning on going next summer though....if anyone wants to join!