Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Social Cost of Free Expression

Free Expression Tunnel at NCSU
(NOTE: The following post includes a graphic depiction of a violent fantasy which I had this week. It should be understood that I have absolutely no intention of acting on this fantasy, or any like it. If you are bothered by descriptions of violence, do not read this post. I hope that anyone that I care about who may read this won't think negatively of me after reading this, should they choose to do so. However, I'm fairly sure that the people I care about already understand my intentions.)

I've railed against hypocrisy in the past. My reasoning is that if you believe in, or otherwise espouse, a principle you should be willing to live with the consequences of that principle because in doing so you will either learn that the principle is worth defending or that it is a stupid principle that no one in their right mind should have supported to begin with. I've even gone so far as to say that, as an extension of this anti-hypocrisy attitude, I have never done or said anything for which I am ashamed. While I still assert that position, I will say that sometimes I do things which, while not causing me shame, do cause me a small amount of regret.

On Wednesday, my friends and I were hanging out in the lounge in Poe Hall as usual before our Psych Research Methods class. In case you haven't already figured it out by now, I can be something of a loud mouth. Most of the time this isn't a problem, and I've even discovered that some people find it to be rather amusing. Those who don't usually are not very happy to be around me, and that typically suits me just fine. Well, on this day some guy who was sitting behind us in the lounge yelled at us (me, in particular, since I was speaking at the time) to be quiet. To our credit, we did become silent while the guy remained in the lounge. However, I was seething with anger. When the guy finally got up to leave, I just couldn't hold in my hate any longer and I flippantly insulted him as he walked away. Needless to say, he wasn't pleased with that and responded in kind. I could have escalated the matter but chose not to out of fear that what I wanted to do would get me kicked out of school.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Knocking Down the Pins

Textbook and Bowling Scores
As another long week draws to a close, I find myself reflecting more on positives than negatives. Grade-wise, I was able to get a 94 on my Biology test (with a 9-point curve), a 94 on my Ergonomics test (with a 5-point curve), an 87 on my second French test (no curve), and a 78 on my Psych Research Methods test (for which I REALLY think there should have been a curve). I am almost caught up on my French homework, and I am fully on top of all the reading in the rest of my classes.

The overarching theme, if one can be found, for this week has been about trying to put out feelers and make connections with people around me. First, I'll touch on the frustrations. Professors in the Psychology Department at NCSU are apparently not the most communicative bunch of people in the world. This comes as a shock only because it has always been my contention that people who are drawn to psychology tend to be over-sharers. Psychologists are supposed to be the touchy-feely people. We're supposed to want to tell everyone everything and be willing to listen as everyone else comes to cry on our shoulders. Why then can't a single professor email me back within a WEEK when I try to set up appointments to talk about doing independent research work for PSY 499? You'd think they would love to sign up suckers like me who are willing to devote hours of our lives to reading research studies and doing data entry for little more than course credit and the vague hope that maybe, just MAYBE, we will look 2% better than some other dumbass when we apply to Grad School. My advisor informed me that I shouldn't get too discouraged by not getting an email back from the professors I contacted and recommended that I continue to be persistent. Anyone who knows me should be aware that persistence isn't my problem. Finding that fine line between persistent and stalker is where I'm a little less comfortable. I'll send out follow up emails next week and see if I can make any progress in getting my PSY 499 done.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Don't Panic. This is Only a Test...

DH Hill QR Codes
While I can't exactly compare it to the trials of Hercules, this has been a little bit of a rough week for me. I've been experiencing a little discouragement as it seems like the honeymoon, hectic as it may have been, is beginning to fade at NC State. I had three tests this week in my hardest subjects (Biology, Ergonomics, and Psych Research Methods). I wouldn't have been worried too much if it weren't for the fact that I've been reminded about three times over the last week that getting accepted to Graduate School is apparently pretty hard. Don't tell me that! Sure, it may be true, but it feels like I was given the option of having sex with a cute, big breasted brunette, with that Jewish Princess look I'm apparently fond of, only to be told, "Yeah, that didn't work out as we expected. Here have this scrawny 12 year old redheaded boy instead!" Besides being quite a bit illegal, I'm not even INTO 12 year old boys! Maybe that wasn't the best analogy in retrospect!

One good thing did come out of the week, though. As part of my newly discovered assertiveness, I reserved a study room at DH Hill and invited several friends from my Psych Research Methods class to study on Thursday afternoon before the test which happened this morning. It might come as a surprise that this was the first study group I've ever participated in during my entire school history. I was certainly aware that such things occurred, but it never entered my mind to try and be a part of one until now. Maybe I wasn't ready to share my brilliance with others. Maybe it was just that I was so scared of doing well on the test. At any rate, it went as well as I could have possibly imagined. Not everyone showed up, but those who did were very helpful. We all seemed to contribute something positive to the group discussion, and we were able to wade through the sometimes confusing material. I won't know what sort of grade I got on the test until next week (nor the grades I got for Biology or Ergonomics), but I felt pretty comfortable after each exam I took this week and think that B's are very likely, and A's are not impossible.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Change of Scenery

NCSU Belltower
There's the old saying that the more things change the more they stay the same. Well, things have definitely changed. Since last November 1st, I was accepted to NC State, lost my car due to a broken timing belt, road an Amtrak train for the first time to Charlotte, experienced what can only be considered a clusterfuck of a college orientation, registered for classes, and began to make a name for myself in the new environs of a major four year research university. It is sort of surprising how NOT overwhelmed I have been thus far.

I've been attending classes for a month now, and I find that the work load is, so far, about even with what I had come to expect at Wake Tech. Gone are the expectations of a written paper and an oral presentation for every class, only to be replaced with an expectation for a lot more reading and independent homework assignments. The biggest adjustment has been the relative claustrophobia which I've experienced. The buses to school and back have been packed, as have been the 200 seat auditorium classes, the campus food courts and coffee shops, and even the library.

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