jedusor: (@cave)
It's weird, how I don't really realize at the time how much stuff I'm learning in my classes. I was just thinking about how I was getting about seven or eight hours of sleep a night this past semester and it never felt like anywhere near enough, whereas for the past week, I've been sleeping in four- or five-hour snatches every thirty hours or so--not because I'm stressed out or have to be awake for anything, just because I'm not tired.

And this makes sense! Because this past couple of weeks, I've mostly been hanging around the apartment doing nothing. During the semester, I was constantly going places and doing things and worrying about things, and that wears out my body in ways that I understand. When I'm spending hours at a time focusing on a single aspect of biology, like you do in classes, it's easy to completely fail to notice my awareness of the entire organism improving.

But it has been. I can't even explain it, really. I just have this sense of myself as the combination of all the bits of me, this understanding of who I am that's built from all the various little understandings I've had throughout my neuroscience and cell biology and physiology and signal transduction classes.

I am so glad to have the education I've had so far, and so eager to keep going. I'm incredibly lucky.
jedusor: (ventromedial prefrontal cortex)
I've been sitting here for fifteen minutes, watching the world go by and thinking about its physiology, how insane and wonderful it is that everything works so well, that existence has come as far as it has and that it has the potential to just keep getting cooler.

Every time I say something like that, my friends start getting all nostalgic for college. Does that mean you grownups never get caught up in the sheer awesomeness of everything anymore?
jedusor: (capslock harry)
So, [livejournal.com profile] velvetpanda is here! We watched Team America last night in honor of the holiday, and went grocery shopping, and slept, and... oh, yeah, Alice is dismantling my house from the ground up.

Here's how this morning went.

Me: *washing breakfast dishes*
Alice: Uh, is there a trick to flushing the toilet?
Me: What, is it not flushing? *goes into bathroom, observes Issue, attempts to fix with plunger, fails* Okay, let's call a plumber. *removes rug and trash so as not to get them wet, goes back to continue washing dishes*
Alice: *makes coffee*
Me: Yeah, so I should be getting my free concert DVD from the Jonathan Coul--
Alice: *removes tea kettle from stove*
Me: FIRE!
Me and Alice: *blow frantically at three-inch flame emanating from stove*
Me: Windows! Open windows!
Alice: *grabs bathroom rug from floor, uses to fan smoke out windows*
Me: Can I please finish washing the dishes here?
Alice: This house has withstood the elements since 1863, but one sixteen-year-old girl from the 21st century is going to bring it down.

I love this girl to death. Really. To death.
jedusor: (ventromedial prefrontal cortex)
Can't take cell biology because it's at the same time as physics. Grr. But I think I came up with a schedule I'm happy with anyway:

Intro to Physics I
Intro to Chemistry I
Brain and Behavior
Human Anatomy
Senior Honors in Psychology

I've completed almost all of my degree requirements, so this is mostly preparation for grad school. I'm going to have to take an art class next spring to satisfy the last Learning Perspective requirement. My biology minor isn't done yet, but Brain and Behavior and Human Anatomy both contribute toward that as well as being good for grad school prep. And the honors will be conducting my thesis experiment and writing it up.

Brain and Behavior used to be called Neuroscience II, while my current Biology of the Brain class was Neuroscience I. Dr. Kennedy had to change the titles because--and I am not kidding here--people didn't know what "neuroscience" was.
jedusor: (pintsize duct-taped)
I just got a letter from the dean saying I've made First Honors on the dean's list because of my 3.93 GPA. This is different from the honors I've already got in that I had to apply for the psych honors program, and that was based on my personal statement and recommendation from a sponsor; this honors is pure grades.

It looks like Clark isn't taking my Penn Valley GPA into account at all. It's not even listed in my student records. I wonder whether I'll have to submit transcripts from PV and SCC as well as Clark when I apply to grad school. It would be nice if I didn't, especially if I can keep my Clark GPA up.

The letter also informed me that my hometown newspaper will be notified. I'm kind of curious as to what they think that is. The hometown they've got for me is Penngrove, which is tiny and doesn't even have a newspaper as far as I'm aware.
jedusor: (ventromedial prefrontal cortex)
I think I've been this undergrad for a few of my TAs, and teachers too. At least I hope I have. The prospect of teaching at some point is intimidating to me mostly because I'm afraid none of my students will give a shit.

Honored

Nov. 14th, 2008 08:32 pm
jedusor: (riverdancing)
I just got an e-mail informing me that I've been accepted into the psychology honors program--woohoo! So, my classes for next semester:

BIOL 140: Biology of the Brain*
PSYC 142: Sensation and Perception
PSYC 221: Research in Social Psychology (that's the research project I'm doing with Dr. Laird)
PSYC 297: Junior Honors

I'm toying with the idea of applying for a fifth course and taking a seminar in evolutionary psychology. Also, I'm going to see if I can audit a law course on civil liberties. I'm auditing two classes this semester and loving it--it's really amazing how different a course feels when you can forget about grades and focus on learning what you want to learn.

*braaaaaaiiiiiiins
jedusor: (looking at the stars)
Last Sunday, it was just beautiful outside. I wandered around with my camera for a while.

Here's what I saw... )

Yum

Oct. 24th, 2008 11:18 am
jedusor: (flavr)
I just had, I think, the best meal I've eaten in the cafeteria here. Tofu onion stir-fry on rice, shredded carrots with sesame, and this spicy curry butternut squash soup that was practically made of fall. I think there was nutmeg or some other really fall-y spice in it, because it reminded me so strongly of the general feel of October and November. It was so good that I grabbed one of the dining services top dogs and told him they should make it more often.

So yes, top marks to the caf on that one.
jedusor: (puzzle police)
I went to a couple of talks today. One was a biology seminar by a grad student from Stony Brook about spacial cognition in stickleback fish. I can't wait to take Biology of the Brain and Brain and Behavior. I don't know if I'll be able to handle neuropsychology as a career, but I do think it's the most important part of psychological research and will become more important as more is learned about it, and I want to at least understand the basics.

Later there was a dinner event, put on by the Innovation and Entrepreneurship folks, at which this dude talked about starting this site. It was very cool--he knew what he was talking about, and was very friendly (not to mention remarkably easy on the eyes). I told him about Calendar Geeks, and he sounded enthusiastic about it. He said to ping him on Facebook and he'd put in a plug on his Twitter, which is apparently followed by something like 2500 people. I also talked to the president of the entrepreneurship club about joining. I haven't actually joined any clubs here yet, although if the vegetarian/vegan folks or the gay folks were tabling, I'd sign up.

The best part of the evening, though, was when I mentioned Will Shortz (I wasn't name-dropping, really; I didn't even realize it might sound like that until after I said it) and my entrepreneurship teacher said, in all seriousness, "Will Shortz? The New York Times crossword editor? I thought he was dead!"
jedusor: (don't dream it)
The problem with studying things I'm actually interested in is that I can't just do what I'm supposed to do. I do a search for journal articles on one topic for a paper and end up absorbed in articles that are completely irrelevant to the project. I hear a professor mention a neat study in lecture and spend way too much time reading up on it (I could spend weeks just on Milgram). I get through half a page of the textbook I'm supposed to be reading before I find a reference to another book I have to read, and then another one, and then those have more--I'm in the middle of four psychology books right now that aren't required for any of my classes, and the waiting list is growing exponentially. I want to start subscribing to journals, but then I would never have a chance to do any homework at all.

I mean, I'm not complaining. This is exactly what I want to be doing. It's just that I wish I had more time.
jedusor: (liek omg!)
THE OLDER MEMBER OF HARRY AND THE POTTERS GOES TO CLARK

WHY DID NO ONE THINK TO TELL ME THIS BEFORE NOW

OMG

OMG

OMG

EDIT: He is actually the younger member. I was too excited to do math.
jedusor: (don't dream it)
A prospective student and her mother stopped me on the quad a few minutes ago. They asked if I was a student; I said I was. They explained that the girl is thinking about transferring to Clark; I told them I'd just transferred. They asked about various aspects of college life; I was surprised at the extent to which I could answer, having been here only a month and a half. The girl said she was trying to decide whether to major in business or in psychology; I told her about Dr. Gendron (the director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship program) and the psychology program here. She mentioned that she was considering Northeastern; I told her I'd almost gone there, and described the co-op program. They thanked me for my help and asked where the admissions office was; I pointed them in the right direction and continued on my way to the library.

I spent three years being that girl. It's still hard to believe I'm out of that state of limbo. I'm the established student now, the one who's conveniently walking across the quad to the library when you need advice. I'm done searching. I've found my place.

(At least until grad school.)
jedusor: (don't dream it)
I just picked up my mail, and it consisted of a bank statement, a check, a medical bill (more than $200, ouch), and a letter about a loan. This is the kind of stuff people warned me about when I was a kid and said I wanted to grow up. Bills and taxes and responsibility are no fun, they said. Well, y'know what? It's totally worth it. So far, the positives of adulthood far outweigh the negatives.

I've been dwelling on a flaw of mine, and then realized that several of the people I admire most share that flaw. So I feel a little better about that. Mom always says you become who you admire, and that's really true, I suppose. That was the basis for the essay that got me in here, actually.

I seem to have made a good impression on the dean of students and the head of the psychology department. Someone said on Facebook that it's because I actually care about what I'm learning. I know it's beneficial to me to stand out in that regard, but I wish I didn't; I wish more people cared.

I miss Ava.
jedusor: (orli says read)
Experimental Methods midterm: 100%, bitches. Mmmmmhm.

Off to the cafeteria now. Winter and Jason and I are using one meal swipe each when it opens and staying inside until it closes at eight. We're going to take over one of the tables next to the electrical outlets and do all our homework for 9.5 hours. I'm unreasonably excited about this.

Oh, and it sounds like I'm going to be able to join Dr. Laird's lab. He gave me his book and told me to find a topic that interests me so he can team me up with someone to do a project, which sounds kind of like I get to pick what I want to study, which YAY.
jedusor: (i have a cat)
Everyone smoked at Penn Valley, but I thought that was a Midwestern thing, or a low-economic-status thing, or a really-stressed-people thing, and would change once I left. But 24% of Clark students smoke, according to the orientation presentation, and after a month here, I would have guessed an even higher percentage. Smoke is everywhere. I can't have my window open at any time of day because smoke comes in my room, even when students do abide by the twenty-foot rule, which they usually don't.

Did I just get lucky in my childhood? Am I going to have to suck it up and learn to live with cigarette smoke for the rest of my life? Is there anywhere smoking isn't a socially acceptable activity? It might be a serious criterion when I start applying for grad school.
jedusor: (orli says read)
I met my roommate's dad last night. At one point, he made a comment about the books on my shelf being an interesting collection. I only let myself bring one box of books, so I had to cut it down to the absolute essentials--a combination of can't-live-without favorites and books I've been meaning to read. Here are the ones that made the cut:

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
the Douay-Rheims edition of the Bible
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
a copy of the Koran
Mind Fuck by Manna Francis
a Japanese copy of the first Harry Potter book
a French copy of the first Harry Potter book
a French-English dictionary
a book of French poetry
The Little Prince in French
The Little Prince in English
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving
The Cider House Rules by John Irving
The Bromeliad Trilogy by Terry Pratchett
Strata by Terry Pratchett
Angry Candy by Harlan Ellison
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams
Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
Holes by Louis Sachar
The Age of Reason by Jean-Paul Sartre
Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
The Dialogues of Plato
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Bullwhip Book by Andrew Conway
Common Sense by Thomas Paine

Yeah, I can see why a Long Island businessman might find this shelf unusual.
jedusor: (badass geek)
My big brother Cordell has launched a blog about his adventures as an intern in Japan: Travels of a Yellow Hat. He's pretty funny sometimes, and it's interesting to hear about his experiences, so you guys should check it out. Warning: he is a fan of retina-breaking shades of yellow and orange, and the site design reflects that.

Yesterday, I found myself conducting an impromptu circus school in my dorm room. Being the juggling expert for once was nice. Later, one of the girls I was teaching and my roommate's boyfriend compared running speeds. I'm no running expert, but I know that "7:15 mile, but that's after my ankle injury--I was a lot faster before" and "Five-something, I don't remember exactly" are Impressive.

I just had my first class: Qualitative Methods in Psychology. I like it okay, but I suspect I will end up using chiefly the sort of psychology the teacher explicitly said the class was not about (formal experimentation). Observation and interpretation are all well and good, but I'm uncomfortable with drawing conclusions about populations based on case studies. I mean, I can live without concrete hypotheses in some situations, but I need decent sample sizes if I'm going to be doing any generalization. Still, observation and interviewing skills are important, and in any case, I should learn the basics before I start writing anything off.

Turns out I need to apply for a fifth course even if I'm just auditing it, so I'm going to do that for Quantitative Methods (statistics) and just sit in on the Entrepreneurship class instead of officially auditing it. I checked with the teacher, and he's cool with that.
jedusor: (pintsize duct-taped)
I got my first vaccine doses today. Three shots: one tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis, one measles/mumps/rubella, and one hepatitis B. The little information pamphlets inform me that if I am one of the one in 1.2 million people to experience seizures, it'll happen in about a week, so Death Guild could be extra-fun! I'll need to get second doses of two of the vaccines and a third dose of one over the next six months; Clark's health center says they won't bar the gates as long as I promise to get those when I'm supposed to.

I got home, achy-armed, and logged into my Clark e-mail to find a message that made me very, very happy. I had written the professor of the entrepreneurship class I want to take this fall, saying something along the lines of "ack Clark won't let me register until the day before classes start and your class that I want to take already has 39 of 40 spots filled, pretty please let me in?" and he responded saying no problem, let him know when I'm allowed to register and he'll do an override, which gives me hope for other potentially full classes. Mom, the most worthwhile lesson you ever taught me was "it never hurts to ask."

I also met my great-aunt Kathy this afternoon. Kathy has recently discovered the internet, it seems, and I was called upon to instruct her in the purposes and proper usage of Facebook, LiveJournal, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Wikipedia. She left a few minutes ago, page of scribbled URLs in hand, eager to master the series of tubes.
jedusor: (sad turtle)
I just woke up from a nightmare that I'd submitted my health insurance waiver to Clark too late and had to pay an unnecessary $2,000 for my first year.

Jeez. What happened to giants and flying and stuff?

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