September 3rd, 2002

pod

Am I just paranoid or am I dumb?

So I guess I do have at least a little bit of anxiety about the upcoming semester. I just woke up from one of those school dreams I have from time to time. In this one I was in a psychology course that I was doing pretty well in, talking to the professor about the test and helping her decide how it should be set up, how long it should be, etc... the only thing was that while I had a fantastic grasp on the concepts and ideas from the class I hadn't read the textbook and wasn't well versed in the specifics. When I finally got the test it was full of short answer questions that I had absolutely no hope of answering because I didn't know the names of the scientists who came up with various theories and some of the technical language because we hadn't gone over it in class.

This is not a particularly unusual dream for me, nor is it far off from events that have occured in the past. For example, the time that I corrected the TA about a very basic psychological concept (he thought something was classical conditioning when it was clearly operant conditioning...foolish on his part because any psych MAJOR, let alone grad student, knows his difference, not that anyone in my class did.) It took me five minutes to explain to him why he was wrong and I was right...and he ended up agreeing with me even though he told me to shut up when I brought it up during the review session (Help help I'm being repressed!). After that I ended up doing poorly on the test because of technical language and detail issues. It's one of the reasons I'm not so sure about psychology...I mean once you grasp the main concepts more completely than the TEACHERS do why does it matter if you don't remember the chemical name of some drug that you can look up in forty seconds in a reference manual? When I worked in a lab there were lots of chemicals that people didn't quite remember properly...it took them all of five minutes to figure out what they were. If they hadn't understood the properties of conditioning (classical OR operant) they would have been much more screwed.

Anyway this dream shows that I do have at least some anxiety over the upcomming semester. I woke up and reminded myself that it is generally considered bad form for aprofessor to give an exam with arcane textbook references on the first day of class. That's a good thing. I think the anxiety is also a good thing, it will keep me from getting complacent and letting things slip out of hand. I'm glad that I'm not bursting with nervousness and fear but it's always good to feel you have something to prove. Then you get to go about proving it.

Today looks to be pretty annoying with a ton of administrative stuff and preperation for a semester that I'm not ready for. Hopefully I can at least get into a contemporary civilizations class before the end of the day. It's good that the first week is a short one though...because starting is always difficult but having that weekend looming just three days away (friday is a college weekend...or at most a half day) helps you stay motivated and energetic.

Here's hoping that most of my classes use this time for silly stuff like "orientation" and not actual learning. At heart I'm still a slacker.
  • Current Music
    Green Day - Dookie
pod

After all the dreaming I come home again

I just had my first two classes of the semester. They went much more smoothly and enjoyably than I expected. The first was Language and the Brain. My psych class for the semester. I'm very glad that I switched into it because A) It is a higher level class than the intro I was signed up for and B) It looks damned interesting. Some people didn't seem to enjoy it one bit but I'm really looking forward to exploring some of the issues that were brought up, such as what structures all languages share in common and how the brain structures of humans give them linguistic abilities that other animals can't match.

The professor's cool too. He's a male, ALWAYS a plus in my book (especially since I assumed this would be a longhair prof cause his name is Michele), and he's Italian so his english isn't so great. Normally I'd find that a hindrance but in this class I think learning about language from someone who is constantly having to work around language to communicate MIGHT be a plus. I mean he used it as an advantage already, giving examples from his own difficulties with english to show how language aquisition beyond the critical period differs from, say, learning chess.

After class I bumped into Zach on the steps and talked to him for awhile, lecturing him on how foolish it was to be sunbathing on the steps without any sort of protection (especially considering that he'd spent the summer working for an oncologist) I've known Zach forever (actually since before I had memories, we were in pre-school together) and he seems like a pretty cool guy. Maybe I should get to know him again...although it might be weird since he seems to be a super social person and I tend to have trouble hanging out with them...not that I can't (witness Derrick from last semester...butterfly extraordinare).

My next class was intro to comparative politics...one of the EASY poli-sci classes I need for the major. It was also pretty fun. The guy who teaches it is one of those old distinguished types who teaches intro classes because he enjoys interacting with the young undergrads (and not in THAT way you goddamned perverts...I SWEAR) and he has a laid back honest style that I really groove with. Another cool thing about that class is that Ryan from my Lit class last semester is in it, and he was a guy who I thought I should get to know better...so that's definitly a plus. We joked around today...he doesn't seem to be a geeky guy but he's definitly a rigorous academic and he has opinions about the material...two things which I really respect in a person. He probably would have been the leader in the lit class had I not been there.

Ate a good lunch and now I have a couple administrative tasks to get done and then one more class and the day is over. If I can get into the class I NEED this might very well be a good semester. Already two of the classes I was worried about as not being very interesting have turned out to be much more appealing than I had initially thought and the reading doesn't seem to be too ludicrous.

I could use a nice easy semester before I start really diving into the tough stuff and wrapping up my college experience.

It's a good start...and that counts for a lot.
  • Current Music
    Counting Crows- August and everything after