Friday, May 20, 2011


I'm pretty sure that never happened
The last week or so has been filled with a vast expanse of nothing as I've stayed at home and watched online videos and read articles about how much the world, or at least the US, sucks right now. While I have absolutely no expectation that the Rapture will occur this weekend, despite the assertions of some right wing lunatics to the contrary, with all of the reports of Conservatives taking away people's collective bargaining rights, voting rights, and rights to entitlements around the country I can sort of see why some might be waiting in anticipation for such an event. I'm guessing Jesus offers a better universal healthcare plan than the US!

On the plus side, I finally received some emails from the good Doctor about starting research. His group of around ten research undergraduates, including myself, will meet up with him next Monday, assuming the world hasn't ended, to discuss our various work assignments. Because he has so many students working with him, the Doctor is dividing us among several different research projects. We will have a weekly meeting for all the groups to talk and update one another on the work being done by everyone. I am part of a group that will be doing some literature review work about geriatrics and social psychology. Right now, things are sort of vague, but the meetings on Monday should clarify what we are supposed to research. My group is working under the Doctor's graduate student in cooperation with a research group in Surrey, England.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Numbers Are In...

I was really expecting a B in French
Well, that wasn't at all like having teeth pulled!

Now that I've completed my first semester at NC State, I have to say that in some ways it was harder and in some ways easier than I had originally expected. As you can no doubt tell by the semester grades, the two biggest struggles for me were French and Psych Research. I was really disappointed with my French grade. While I can only really blame myself, I did explain in detail during my course evaluation a couple of weeks ago that I don't think the course should have required as much homework as was expected of us. That was my major downfall, as I usually made 85-96 on the tests. The course is on one hand sold as a refresher or review of French, and students are required to take a placement test to stay in the class. But, on the other hand, the course crams all of the material from French I and II into the span of one semester. As I commented in my course evaluation, the main reason students take this course is because they don't feel confident in their speaking abilities and want extra prep time before entering the 200-level French course which is taught almost exclusively in French. Students, such as myself, want French 110 to give us greater confidence with our speaking and oral comprehension, which I don't feel like the course actually provided. Granted, my French writing and reading has improved slightly, but I feel as though my speaking and conversational skills actually regressed a bit over the semester because so little time was focused on actual conversation skill. And, after all of that, I have a C on my transcript!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Preconceived Notions

Number Crunching in SPSS
Hopefully, as you get older, you start to learn that first impressions, while important, aren't the best gauge of a person's worth.

I've been doing a final project in Psych Research Methods involving self-segregation in college lecture halls based on race and gender. Because we weren't allowed to choose our group members, I happen to be in a group with a young woman whose initial impressions early in the semester left me feeling less than enthusiastic about working with her. We had a few minor conflicts in the first few weeks of class which showed her to be a self-centered snob with a very low opinion of me. For my part, I was probably a bit petulant, and unwilling to let her off-hand comments go unchallenged. To be fair, out of the four of us in the team, she and I are probably the most dominant personalities of the group, as evidenced by our performance during our in-class presentation. But, after getting a chance to work with her and have a few normal conversations, I've come to appreciate her contribution to the group. Of course, she now comes off as another one of those overachievers that I've encountered here at NC State who wants to have her entire future mapped out in detail. However, getting a chance to learn that she and I have both been frustrated with our grades in Psych Research Methods, and that we both have issues with how the grad student instructor of the class has taught the course, has allowed me to see her a little more three-dimensionally than before. She still has a little bit of an air of haughtiness about her, but I get the sense that it, probably, is more a guard against her minor insecurities than an actual excoriation of people as being less important than her.

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